Jo and the Kingswood Labour team are a step closer to staving off community safety cuts after Labour councillors secured agreement to protect - for a single year - Police Community Support Officers due to be cut. The campaign to keep our communities safe in the years to come goes on, but Jo and the Labour team have welcomed this progress.
South Gloucestershire Council is having to cut its spending by £80 million over the decade, and to implement those cuts councillors were faced with having to slash £277k from the Council’s community safety budget. The Council recently consulted on a range of options on what to cut to meet this savings target. In addition to the PCSO cuts, alternative options included cutting CCTV cameras, the Council's anti-social behaviour team, street marshals and work to stop high-risk sex offenders re-offending.
In the end councillors were recommended to wield the axe to PCSOs in a report that went to the Council’s Communities Committee on Tuesday evening. However, Labour proposed that none of the options should be pursued in the coming year. This one-year fix has been agreed by the Council’s political leaders, and the Communities Committee endorsed this position. The funds for this reprieve will come from blocking a planned increase in the money that the Council’s local Area Forums were to receive for local projects.
Jo McCarron said: “The last Labour Government created teams of police and community support officers in every neighbourhood across the country, working closely with residents to tackle the issues affecting their local community. It’s been disappointing to see so many of those PCSOs cut under this Government, and particularly concerning to see our local PCSOs next in line. Hundreds of residents across the constituency have signed up to oppose these cuts. The Labour team has listened, and worked to protect the community safety budget this year. But sooner or later, cuts to community safety will come, and people’s fundamental right to feel safe in their community will be undermined, unless the Government intervenes.
"Labour has set out plans to put more money into frontline policing, by abolishing Police and Crime Commissioners, increasing the cost of gun licenses and driver offender training, and making forces join together to purchase equipment more cheaply, and we will put renewed focus on neighbourhood policing, putting strong policing teams at the heart of every community. Alongside the hundreds of residents who have already joined this campaign, we are calling on this Government to reassure local people that they share this commitment to keeping our communities safe.”