Goodbye to PCSOs if cuts are approved?

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CONCERNS have been raised that Towcester and south Northants could lose most of its Police Community Support Officers if budget cuts planned by Northants County Council go ahead.

At a meeting of the council’s cabinet next month, Northamptonshire County Council will look into slashing the £500,000 a year it spends on PCSOs while Northants Police plans to cut 25 PCSOs over the next four years as part of plans to reduce the force’s budget by around 20 per cent.

Chris Lofts, South Northants councillor for Towcester Brook ward said: “Community Support Officers provide Towcester with a regular, visible presence on the street. Their work has been valuable in deterring criminal activity and anti-social behaviour in our town.

“PCSOs are an important link between local people and the police. Police Community Support Officers’ work with young people and the vulnerable is really important.

“The Conservatives’ plan to cut funding for this work by £500,000 is not the right approach to take.”

Leader of Northants County Council and Northants Police Authority member, Jim Harker said the council could not afford to carry on funding PCSOs.

He said: “What I think is worth doing is talking to the chief constable to see how the county council can work with the police to improve community safety and work to make sure the people of Northamptonshire feel as safe as they can and we can help with that in lots of other ways but it won’t be in funding PCSOs.”