Bristol PCSOs retained after contracts signed

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Contracts to keep the number of Police Community Support Officers at their present level in Bristol have been signed.

It follows an agreement between the city's mayor and the Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner.

Mayor George Ferguson had previously proposed axing the community support officers in his budget but later said he would have a rethink.

The council will now fund 20 PCSOs, while the PCC will fund ten.

"While we fully recognise the vital role played by PCSOs we are one of the few local authorities that makes a direct financial contribution and have to look at every way that we can make savings," Mr Ferguson said.

"However I am delighted that working closely with Sue Mountstevens, we have ensured that there is a similar level of PCSO support this year."

Still make saving

PCC Ms Mountstevens added: "PCSOs do a wonderful job within our local communities.

"I hope that together with Bristol City Council we find a solution to sustain the level of funding for Bristol's PCSOs for future years, despite the financial challenges ahead for both organisations."

As part of the £35m savings Mr Ferguson needs to make for the year 2013/14, he had suggested that £540,000 could be saved by cutting the officers.

Under the new arrangement, the council said it will still be able to make the £540,000 saving on the service, because of the additional police contribution and a contribution from the Housing Revenue Account.

Bristol City Council previously funded up to 32 PCSOs, but a council spokeswoman said all 32 positions were never filled.

Council funded PCSOs work alongside 80 others in Bristol, who are funded by Avon and Somerset Police.

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