THEY have become a highly visible presence on our streets.
The police community support officers (PCSOs) whose job includes tackling anti-social behaviour, dealing with minor offences and generally supporting front line police officers.
The work they do is often just the kind of thing that helps reassure communities, nipping bad behaviour in the bud and gathering information that can help reduce crime.
The good news is that Kirklees Council has underlined its commitment to PCSOs by upping to £611,000 the amount of money it will allocate towards part funding 68 of the 107 officers currently working under the scheme in Kirklees.
PCSOs are also funded by the Home Office and the police. It will have escaped few people’s notice that the police themselves are instigating tough budgetary measures and are also having to make difficult choices about how to prune costs while delivering high quality services.
Confirmation that 18 more PCSOs are to be recruited suggests their role is being given increasing weight as a deterrent against the kind of behaviour that communities find disturbing and destructive.
While commending the council’s decision to continue backing the presence of PCSOs on our streets, let us not forget that these officers are not and should not be seen as anything other than what their name suggests – support officers.
Harsh financial times call for careful assessment of where resources are best spent. That should continue to include investing as much as possible in the future of our police force.