Commissioner’s funding request for PCSO branded a ‘cheek’ by Leighton-Linslade town councillors

A request by the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner for a share of Leighton-Linslade Town Council’s reserves has been branded a ‘cheek’ by councillors.

At Monday’s meeting of the council, members were presented with a letter from Kathryn Holloway asking for extra funding for an additional PCSO.

PCC Kathryn Holloway

PCC Kathryn Holloway

The proposal was met with incredulity by local councillors who unanimously rejected the request.

As previously reported, the PCC is asking parishes across Bedfordshire for £31,200 a year to fund a PCSO ‘dedicated’ to their local area.

This is in addition to the planned increase in the police precept, which will see average council tax bills rise by £24 per year, and the extra funding already agreed by the Government.

Councillor Amanda Dodwell told the LBO following Monday’s meeting: “Quite apart from the cheek of the PCC in asking parish councils for extra money, there were concerns about the practicalities of this proposal.

PCSO

PCSO

“In particular, it was not clear how priorities would be set for this officer and how we would prevent them being re-tasked to other areas.

“The overwhelming view was that the residents of rural Bedfordshire already subsidise policing in Luton, and this would be more of the same.”

In her letter Mrs Holloway had admitted December’s Government’s settlement was not enough.

Of the force’s £8m increase announced in December, just £1.4m was provided by the Government for frontline policing, with £1.2m towards the pensions deficit.

The remaining £5.6m is expected to be raised through increasing the police precept of council tax – around £24 a year for a Band D home.

The PCC wrote: “The answer, in your local area, may lie in your hands.

“I am told by councillors from the three unitary authorities in Bedfordshire ... that the parishes hold some substantial reserves.

“A PCSO costs £31,200 to fund each year. If your council wishes to consider the funding of such an officer to be dedicated to policing in the local area, subject to agreement, I would be very grateful if you would contact me directly.”