Chief officers and police and crime commissioners freedom and flexibility to make decisions regarding resourcing in their force areas.
From April 2013, ring-fenced funding for police community support officers (PCSOs) in England was subsumed into the police main grant, giving chief officers and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) freedom and flexibility to make decisions regarding resourcing in their force areas. Funding is different in Wales, with the Welsh Government providing additional money to support PCSO numbers.
Following this change, several forces have allocated significant sums to fund PCSO posts, either entirely from the main grant or using that money to attract matched funding from partners. This should be encouraged as it shows forces and partners recognise the positive contribution PCSOs make in neighbourhood policing as they become further embedded in the wider police family.
The continued assistance of matched funding from partners is critical in maintaining and increasing the number of PCSOs as necessary. The police main grant is not the only source of funding that should be relied on. Specifically recognised under the local policing priority of the Policing Vision 2025, neighbourhood policing and community safety is an outcome shared by other partners. It is important to think about how partners can be engaged and contribute. Creative problem solving could lead to partnership working with, for example, schools, housing developments and shopping and business parks.
It should be noted that external funding for the recruitment of PCSOs is predicated on the understanding that the chief constable retains the ultimate decision on where they should be deployed, based on the local strategic assessment as part of the community safety partnership collective leadership.