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Concern over community policing cuts

10 Jan 2024 3 minute read
PCSOs

Local politicians have raised concerns over budget proposals by the Welsh Government that could see funding for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) drastically cut.

Currently, the Welsh Government funds 600 PCSOs across Wales – having increased funding to over £22 million in 2021, as part of a key manifesto pledge to tackle crime and support communities.

Police Community Support Officers work with police officers and share some, but not all of their powers.

They provide an important link between their communities and the police service to ensure people have the support they need.

Cuts

However, the Welsh Government’s recently announced Draft Budget for 2024 to 2025, proposes a £7.5 million cut to the PCSO budget from £22 million to £15.5 million– outlining the need for “policing partners to reshape their workforce”.

The proposed cut to the PCSO budget, and its potential impact on crime and community cohesion was brought to the attention of the First Minister by Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru’s Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales in the Senedd.

Questioning the First Minister on the issues during FMQs on Tuesday (January 10), Plaid Cymru’s Cefin Campbell said: “There’s no doubt that PCSOs play an invaluable role in communities in mid and west Wales, and more often than not they operate as important eyes and ears within our local communities.

“Whilst I am well aware of the current budget constraints, I have real concerns this drastic cut in PCSO funding could neglect the close relationships between communities and the police force and detriment efforts in tackling crime.”

Speaking in the Senedd, Cefin Campbell MS also raised concerns about the Welsh Government’s proposed scrapping of the Wales police schools programme – which provides support in all primary and secondary schools in Wales on a range of topics, including substance misuse, online safety and personal wellbeing.

Cefin Campbell MS’ concerns about cuts to community policing and police school programme were also echoed by Dafydd Llywelyn, Plaid Cymru’s Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police, who said: “These proposed cuts to both the PCSO budget and the highly valued Wales police school programme will come as a significant blow – and will hamper the frontline cohesion efforts between communities and police in tackling crime and raising awareness of pressing issues such as substance misuse and anti-social behaviour.

“As Police and Crime Commissioner I will look to ensure neighbourhood policing continues to be safeguarded despite Welsh Government cuts and Tory mismanagement at Westminster, and where possible PCSO numbers will be retained at 2023 levels.”

Responding to Cefin Campbell MS’ question, First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “Of course, we do appreciate the work that PCSOs do here in Wales. That’s why the Government invested in PCSOs at a time when the number of people working for the police had fallen after cuts from the UK Government.

“And we have supported the schools programme as well. But we’ve come to a point now where we have to focus on the responsibilities that have been devolved to the Senedd. And when there is less money available, one of the things that we can do is focus on those things where we receive funding to do things.”


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Llyn
Llyn
5 months ago

Don’t think the Welsh Government should spend any money on support officers. Justice is not devolved? I wish it was, but until it is why are the WG diverting money for devolved matters to pick up the pieces left by the UK Gov for which they’ll get zero thanks?

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
5 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

i must say that is a very short sighted view. The Welsh Govt should be congratulated in investing in providing extra support officers as crime is one of the biggest fears people have and the Welsh public deserve all the support the Welsh Govt can give. This is grown up politics and shows they are worthy of being in power and not just there to undermine Westminister. Its a shame the budget has been cut but i do not blame them for that.

Llyn
Llyn
5 months ago

I see your point by I would say that £15 million spent on the Welsh NHS is a priority.

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