Low Wharfedale crime areas may lose PCSOs

Wharfedale Observer: Councillor Ryk Downes Councillor Ryk Downes

Leeds City Council are being urged to clarify plans to shake-up the distribution of PCSOs across the city.

As reported in March, the authority is considering changing the way 165 Police Community Support Officers are allocated so that more would be sent to high-crime areas.

Otley and Yeadon’s three ward councillors fear that would reduce police cover in more rural neighbourhoods – sending a dangerous message out to criminals.

Councillor Ryk Downes (Lib Dem, Otley & Yeadon) had hoped to find out more at last week’s full city council meeting, but instead was told that a decision was still pending.

He said: “All I am asking for is a straight answer on whether the council plans to take away our PCSOs.

“These officers are an integral part of our community; they have built bonds with many residents and help keep them safe.

“I know that many residents find it unfair that other areas might benefit from having extra officers, leaving us vulnerable to higher crime rates and anti-social behaviour - issues that the officers work hard to fight.

“This is an issue we need to address.”

The change being considered, following a recommendation by the Safer and Stronger Communities scrutiny board, would see a more flexible model replace the existing, five PCSOs a ward, arrangement.

But the report also recommends keeping a minimum of four PCSOs for all wards.

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