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Labour councillors back retention of Police Community Support Officers

John Freeman
Local Labour councillors have joined those pressing for the jobs of Police Community Support Officers in the Lancaster and Morecambe district to be protected from public spending cuts.

Next Wednesday’s City Council budget meeting (2nd March) will be urged by Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of the Labour group, to consider funding of PCSOs as a growth item.

“Funding from the Community Safety Partnership has gone,” said Coun Blamire, chairman of the partnership.

“If we are to lose police officers, it is vital that we keep our PCSOs, who are doing such a good job and are so valued by the public.”

Of 43 posts in the local police division part-funded by Lancashire Police Authority, 14 are at risk.

In addition, neighbourhood policing and response teams may have to be looked at in future by the authority.

Skerton county councillor Niki Penney, a Labour member of the police authority, said budget cuts would amount to £42 million over the next four years, which would mean about 1,000 jobs would go as staffing represented 85% of the budget.

Even so, she said, the police had a strong ambition to maintain their good performance.

Labour county councillors have objected to the “unevenness” of cuts being imposed on local authorities by the Government.

“While we in Lancashire are facing a devastating reduction, that will see many thousands of employees lose their jobs, some authorities in the south of England are seeing minimal reductions or even increases in their budgets,” said County Coun Jenny Mein, Labour leader at County Hall.