Northamptonshire communities could buy an extra police officer for Â£37k a year
Northamptonshire residents could fund extra police officers in their community by sponsoring a PCSO for Â£37,000 a year, according to police and crime commissioner Stephen Mold.
In his police and crime report to the county council yesterday, Mr Mold spoke explained that Northamptonshire Police would pay for all training, uniform and equipment for a PCSO, while the sponsor or sponsors cover the salary and on-costs which, for 2017/18, amounts to £37,245.
The PCSO would be dedicated to a specific area, work within the local policing team and be accountable to the team's sergeant.
Mr Mold said: "I have been extremely encouraged by how partners and communities are keen to work with us to protect people from harm and make Northamptonshire safer, something that is a key strand on the Police and Crime plan for the county."
"We want to continue this and empower communities that are able to help us further with initiatives such as the Sponsor a PCSO scheme."
He added: "I hope that communities and partners across the county will recognise this fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively with both my office and the
force to help make our county a safer place."
Any sponsored PCSO would not reduce the service a community receives from the core policing team, and would only be called to other duties in exceptional circumstances such as a major critical incident.
Police pay was also brought up in Mr Mold's report in which he welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond's announcement that officers would see their wages increased.
However, Mr Mold was concerned about it being announced without the Government explaining how this additional pay expenditure will be funded.
With a lack of central funds the force would have to pay for the wage increases by either making cuts to existing police services or hold a public referendum and ask council tax payers to pay more in order to cover the costs.
"The pay rise agreed for police officers means we will need to find almost three quarters of a million pounds extra in order to pay the Force wages bill," said Mr Mold.
"We simply do not have this available within our current finances. We need a fair funding formula for policing otherwise we will continue to see inequalities and forces will carry on experiencing underfunding. The funding formula for Northamptonshire has long been an issue which really needs to be addressed.
"Without central funds to meet this pay increase we would either need to make cuts to existing police services or alternatively hold a public referendum and ask council tax payers to pay much more on the police precept to cover the shortfall – which is not something I really want to do.
"I hope ministers recognise that although a wage rise is greatly supported we need to understand exactly how it’s being funded, as it cannot be delivered within existing budgets without very real risks to policing."