25% cut in Burnley PCSO cash is ‘kick in teeth’

editorial image

CUTS in funding to Police Community Support Officers in Burnley is “a real kick in the teeth” for residents plagued by nuisance, according to a former councillor.

Mr Mark Townsend, the former Gannow Labour councillor, said that Burnley Borough Council’s reductions in funding for PCSOs amounted to a 25% cut.

Addressing the council’s Executive Committee he said: “This is a real kick in the teeth for Burnley residents who have to put up with nuisance crime.

“When all the cuts are complete it will result in the lowest policing levels since the 1970s. It is a further act of betrayal considering that our MP Gordon Birtwistle stated in his election leaflets that he would fight against police cuts.”

But the leader of Burnley Council, Coun. Charlie Briggs, defended the council’s position and said that further funding of £1.74m. had been secured in the Local Government Finance settlement.

This would allow the council to allocate two years of funding to Lancashire Constabulary to sustain current levels of neighbourhood policing.

He said: “Gordon Birtwistle is our MP. I am the leader of the council, not Gordon. I make the decisions, not Gordon.

“At a time when we are working hard to make savings, having extra funds to keep this scheme running will significantly contribute to the delivery of Burnley’s key cleaner, greener and safer agenda.”

Coun. Neil Mottershead, Executive member for Community Safety, said: “Being able to contribute this additional funding to the police for PCSOs is fantastic news, as there were concerns that a lack of funding from ourselves would mean this valuable resource would be significantly reduced.

“They play a vital role in keeping our neighbourhoods safe, and I am delighted that we have been able to put this extra funding towards such a worthwhile project.”