Bristol mayor makes offer over threatened PCSO jobs

George Ferguson
Image caption Mr Ferguson must make cuts of £35m to Bristol City Council's budget for next year

Bristol's mayor will cut fewer police community support officers if he can strike a funding deal with the city's police commissioner over funding.

Independent George Ferguson proposed axing all 32 community support officers in his budget but later said he would have a rethink.

The mayor said he will pay for 10 officers if PCC Sue Mountstevens will fund the cost of another 10 officers.

Ms Mountstevens said she was "working very hard" to keep PCSOs on the street.

She added she was "still in negotiation" with Mr Ferguson over funding.

'Exceptionally valuable'

"PCSOs play a fundamental part in making our residents feel safe," she added.

Mr Ferguson said in his budget that cutting the officers would save the city £540,000.

The council has to make savings of £35m, about 9% of the council budget, and could see 330 council jobs go.

"At a time when we have this challenge of budget cuts it's wrong that the pressure should be on the city council and it's right that the pressure should be on the police," said Mr Ferguson.

"But I hope I could join them in trying to secure more resources so they can pay for PCSOs which is what really should happen."

Avon and Somerset Police fund 80 PCSO posts and must make £7m in budget cuts.

Liberal Democrat councillor Tim Kent, who is backing a petition about the cuts, said PCSOs were the "boots on the streets".

"We've found them to be exceptionally valuable over the last several years," he said.

"I do think there is an opportunity to save all the PCSO posts and even open up negotiations to have more."

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