Cash pledge over police community officer posts

Vital: Chief Supt Simon Torr.
Vital: Chief Supt Simon Torr.

COUNCIL funding which pays the wages of 10 of Sheffield’s 136 Police Community Support Officers is set to be guaranteed for the next financial year - despite up to £50 million of further cuts.

Sheffield Council’s ruling Labour administration has announced it proposes to keep the £300,000 allocation for PCSOs during 2012/13.

The news, announced today by Sheffield Council leader Coun Julie Dore, was welcomed by Sheffield’s top police officer.

Chief Supt Simon Torr, Sheffield district policing commander, said: “We lost 15 PCSOs last year when council funding was reduced but it is vital that we keep the remaining 10 council-funded posts.

“There are currently 136 Police Community Support Officer and they are our presence in communities.

“What they provide is good community knowledge - they build the links with tenants’ and residents’ groups, churches, mosques and clubs, and they can tell officers who we need to talk to when specific issues arise.”

Chief Supt Torr said two PCSOs have been of particular importance - PCSO Maggie Rozmus, who works in Darnall and Tinsley and has specialised in building a link with Slovakian immigrants, and PCSO Jenny Styles, who provides crime prevention advice to the estimated 600 overseas students who come to Sheffield each year.

PCSO Rozmus has been crowned South Yorkshire Police’s PCSO of the Year.

The council’s plan to keep the PCSO funding is part of its budget proposals which are set to be approved in March.

Coun Dore said: “We strongly believe that having PCSOs helps keep the streets safe.“The first two hundred responses to my letter to every householder in Sheffield asking for views on spending priorities suggest that crime and safety is one of the top priorities for Sheffielders - so we are confident that our proposals to protect funding in this area are the right thing to do.”