Leader of Northampton Borough Council says police have enough money to fund PCSOs

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THE LEADER of Northampton Borough Council has thrown the gauntlet down to police officials in the county, calling on them to fund the area’s Police Community Support Officers.

As part of proposed budget cuts, Northamptonshire County Council is planning to withdraw the £500,000 a year it pays for PCSOs in the county, while the borough council is also planning to cut £100,000 it gives the police.

It is feared the cuts will lead to there being 20 fewer PCSOs on the streets of Northampton.

But later this month, the leader of the borough council, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm) will table an official motion calling on the police to fund the PCSOs from their own savings, which he claims add up to more than £20 million.

He said: “Times are tough for all public bodies at the moment and the borough council can no longer afford to fund PCSOs.

“They do important jobs in our local communities so knowing how much money the police authority has in reserves, I hope they will consider using some of that money to keep funding PCSOs.”

The council leader’s motion will be debated during a meeting of the authority on January 16. If it is passed by councillors, the council’s chief executive, David Kennedy, will write to chief constable, Adrian Lee, setting out the council’s stance.

But opposition councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre & Briar Hill), who is also a member of the police authority, accused the Conservatives of attempting to mislead the public over the issue.

He said: “I think they’re playing politics with policing here. They’re trying to shift the blame for the fact that they’ve made a political decision not to fund PCSOs. They need to stand up and say that’s what they’ve done and see how people like that.”

He also denied the police had the money to make up the shortfall, adding: “That money is allocated for a lot of changes the police are going to have to make in the future.”

Both the councils and the police will make final decisions on their budget plans in February.