Following a public consultation on the Conservatives Budget proposals, Lancashire County Council have decided to cut £265,000 from the Police Community Support Officers budget. It is identified in the report to the Cabinet (12th July 2018) that this is likely to cut 8 Police Community Support Officers out of the current shared funded posts. Directly affecting 2 specific policing areas “Early Action” and “Schools and Safer Travel,”
This is despite the fact that 91% of respondents strongly disagreed and no respondents strongly agreed with the decision to cut the “Early Action and Schools” team funding and 85% of respondents strongly disagreed with cutting funding from the “Safer Travel” Team.
The Early Action and Schools teams work with children, young people, adults and families on a wide range of issues including low-level anti-social behaviour/future offending behaviour; knife crime; gang affiliation; availability and use of alcohol/drugs; racism and general low level crime.
The Safer Travel Police Community Support Officers undertake a range of responsibilities, including investigating reports of anti-social behaviour on the bus network such as bullying, criminal damage, and verbal or physical assaults, both on buses and at bus stations; providing easy access to confidential reporting for victims of bullying and anti-social behaviour; working with school pupils, parents, schools and bus operators to challenge the behaviour of offenders and prevent future incidents; document checks on taxi drivers providing home to school services; working with neighbourhood policing teams to target behaviour, such as missile attacks directed at public transport and taxis.
Cllr John Fillis, Deputy Labour Leader, said “These Conservative consultations are a total sham. With 91% of local people against these cuts to our Police Community Support Officers to go ahead with the cuts is criminal. Why would anyone bother responding to consultations when the Conservatives claim they can’t afford to listen?”
“It’s clear by what people have said in their response that these Police Community Support Officers do a fantastic job, supporting local people and not only reducing crime but the fear of crime. The Conservative promise to spend more on Law and Order but all the public see is cuts. Their direct work with community’s especially young people, is all part of reducing the fear of crime and instilling in young people a sense of community and pride.”
“By reducing crime and enabling people to go about their daily business, they save us more than they cost. Unfortunately the Conservatives know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Funding can be found from the Minimum Revenue Provision Policies £13.2m (2017/18) yet the Conservatives have refused to use it.”