MORE than £600,000 of Kirklees Council cash will be used to fund police community support officers (PCSOs) in the next year.
The council has committed £611,000 to part-fund 68 of the 107 PCSOs working in Kirklees for another 12 months.
That figure is up from the £599,000 the council provided last year.
West Yorkshire Police said the decision would mean current PCSO numbers could be maintained – and allow more to be recruited.
Chief Supt Chris Hardern, from Huddersfield Police, said: “I am delighted that in these very difficult financial times Kirklees Council has agreed to continue to contribute significant funding towards the PCSOs that work in the division.
“PCSOs perform a vital role in supporting front-line policing and providing reassurance and help to all communities in Kirklees.”
PCSOs work for seven neighbourhood policing teams across Kirklees – Huddersfield North, Huddersfield South, Kirkburton and Denby Dale, The Valleys, Dewsbury and Mirfield, Spen Valley and Batley, Birstall and Birkenshaw.
Their duties commonly include high-visibility patrolling, tackling anti-social behaviour, dealing with minor offences, gathering criminal intelligence and supporting front-line policing.
They do not have the same powers of arrest as police officers.
Chief Supt Hardern added: “Their role is crucial in helping us to continue to cut crime, deal with anti-social behaviour and increase confidence in local policing.”
He said 18 more would be recruited in the next 12 months.
The council funding will cover a third of the cost of the 68 PCSOs.
The remainder of the funding will come from the Home Office and the police’s own budget.
Clr David Sheard, council Cabinet member for regeneration, environment and transport, said: “This commitment will make a difference in communities where it counts.
“It means that PCSOs will be more visible, that they are working on the ground and can add value to communities.
“Despite our serious financial challenges, we are maintaining a valuable service that people tell us they want to help cut crime and deal swiftly with anti-social behaviour.”
PCSOs in action:
At the end of 2010, PCSOs Karen Giwisser and Tony Linney from The Valleys neighbourhood policing team helped an elderly man who dialled 999 when his oxygen machine stopped working during a power cut.
Huddersfield South neighbourhood team PCSO Gareth Hunt organises football sessions for youngsters at The Zone on St Andrew’s Road aimed at breaking down barriers between young people and police.
Huddersfield North neighbourhood team PCSO Asif Bashir went to a community event at the Ahmadyaan Mosque on Spaines Road, Birkby, to hand out advice on of issues including domestic violence, crime prevention, drugs and violent crime.
PCSOs Sharon Mellor and Bob Armitage, of Kirkburton and Denby Dale neighbourhood team, have been working on Farmlink, a scheme to combat rural crime.