New budget plans have seen a planned 100% cut in the council’s funding of PCSO’s reduced by half.
Wrexham Council was looking to cease the PCSO funding of £140k this coming year, and £140k the following year – however that will now be a £75k and £75k cut.
Currently Wrexham Council have an agreement with North Wales Police to part fund a number of PCSOs locally – an arrangement that has been in place for several years.
The funding agreement is in place until March 2019, however as part of the recent Difficult Decisions proposals it is recommended this is brought forward to October 2018. This would result in Wrexham Council’s share of the funding being scrapped over a two year period – saving £140k next year and £140k the year after.
In November 2017 North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones warned that he will not “fill the gap” financially if Wrexham Council press ahead with its proposals.
The proposed cut also received the most negative response from the public during the recent Difficult Decisions consultation, with Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, Cllr Hugh Jones today describing it as a “major area” of concern from the people of Wrexham.
Comments fed back from the public during the process, included:
- With the amount of Anti-social behaviour in Wrexham, PCSO’s should not be cut
- Reducing PCSO’s could lead to more crime and anti-social behaviour
- More PCSO’s and Police Officers are required
Speaking about the responses, Cllr Jones said: “Naturally people were concerned they would lose them, and it is not a surprise as the public value the police.
“We were funding 25% of 36 PCSOs, and the plan was to reduce the funding to 25% of 18 and then cease funding altogether to come into line with the other five counties.”
“However, we have listened to public and will reduce that, we will take the first £140k out but not the second.
“We are also recognising the changing nature of policing in Wrexham and are working with North Wales Police to draw up scheme of community policing.”
Cllr Jones pointed out again that Wrexham Council is ‘unique’ in North Wales, and possibly all of Wales, being the only council to help pay for the cost of PCSOs.
He also said that although the funding will come from Wrexham Council the exact use of it will be up to PCC, who allocates the funding.
The full budget documents ahead of Executive Board meeting can be found here on the Council website.
As with other budget proposals, this is still formally a suggested option however will likely have full Executive Board support next week meaning it will then be taken forward to Full Council. That is the point where all councillors get to have their say on their plans, and get to vote – assuming they attend.
The Executive Board meeting is on Tuesday starting at 10am, and will be webcast. The Full Council meeting is on Wednesday, 21st February, at 4pm and will also be webcast.
Related stories today on the new budget proposals include…
– Wrexham Council Tax proposed to rise by 3.9% to help offset impact of cuts
– “We have listened” – Bin changes & £4 a day Work Opportunities ‘wage’ cuts scrapped in budget proposals
– Cuts to school music service toned down with £50k “means tested pot of money” to provide some services
– Schools budget proposed to get 1.4% increase rather than 0% – Letters from schools reveal despair at original plans
– Plans to cut Council PCSO funding half shelved – Wrexham remains ‘only authority to fund them in North Wales’