by Elizabeth Archer
Cuts to Leeds Community Support Officers are likely, but they will not be scrapped altogether, say West Yorkshire Police.
The statement comes after controversial comments by Supt Sam Millar which suggested the force was considering cutting PCSOs altogether amid a severe budget slash.
Speaking at an internal committee of Leeds City Council, Supt Millar said: “The problematic conversation at force level is ‘should we have PCSOs at all?’
“Leeds is by far and away the most vocal supporter of PCSOs. So we are not having an easy conversation.”
However, West Yorkshire Police have denied that they will scrap officers on the beat in Leeds.
Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said: “I want to be absolutely clear that PCSOs remain a highly valued and integral part of our policing plans both now and in the years ahead.”
Ch Cons Collins went on to say that the force cannot sustain the current numbers of PCSOs and have already frozen their intake to minimise job losses down the line. West Yorkshire Police will have to find around £2 million by the end of the financial year, and a further £23.3 million by 2017.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson added: “PCSOs play a very important role in helping to keep people safe and feeling safe, I remain as committed as ever to ensuring they remain a key part of the neighbourhood policing model.