Bristol mayor George Ferguson strikes deal to avoid PCSO cuts
THE number of PCSOs on Bristol's streets is to stay the same after a deal secured by mayor George Ferguson.
There are a total of 110 police community support officers in Bristol and Mr Ferguson had considered axing 32 of them paid for by the city council.
But he has agreed a deal with the Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens to keep the numbers the same. He has split the cost of the police community support officers' wages with police, the housing revenue account and Ms Mountsevens' office budget.
The city council will pay for 20 of the 110 officers, while the Police and Crime Commissioner will fund 10.
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It is a move which will see the council better off by £540,000 without losing any officers.
In other moves Mr Ferguson has deferred decisions over the future of the proposed Bristol East Pool and Hartcliffe Household Waste Recycling Centre for a year. He has sent councillors away to find ways to make the projects cheaper.
He has also accepted the recommendations in principle of two groups on housing and community safety but has asked for further work to be done with officers on finding more savings.
The strategic housing task group devised a plan to spend £60,000 in order to generate an extra £264,000 from empty homes brought back into use sooner than planned over the next year.
Mr Ferguson warned the council "cannot afford to dodge" the £35 million savings needed to be made.
He said: "I agree wholeheartedly with the suggestion that we defer rather than stop the planned new pool in east Bristol and new recycling centre at Hartcliffe. This is a sensible move and means that planning work can continue at minimal cost to keep options open.
"In principle I shall be happy to accept the proposals of the housing task group but before I can make a final decision, I've asked officers to work further with members on the full extent of the proposed alternative savings. I must be certain that the numbers stack up, as made clear to all concerned, because we cannot afford to dodge the £35 million savings requirement, which won't be wished away."
He added: "I am pleased with the proposed outcome of the community safety review that justifies the challenge laid down to the police regarding Bristol being one of very few councils contributing to PCSOs.
"This proposal to reinstate the full overall number of 110, but with a larger contribution from the police budget and extending the job specification, is a significant advance on present arrangements. Again I need to be convinced that the savings in other jobs will compensate for the reduced savings."