West Yorkshire Police is receiving more than £8m a year from local organisations to help pay for dozens of police officers and hundreds of PCSOs, new figures revealed.
The force has revealed that the equivalent of 133 of its officers and 450 of its non-warranted community support officers are partially paid for by organisations including town halls, local parish councils, schools, universities and hospitals.
In West Yorkshire, a total of nearly 133 full-time equivalent police officer roles are funded by external bodies at a cost of £5.2m a year. The force’s FOI response says they include schools, housing associations, shopping centres, universities and children’s services.
The overall cost to employ a West Yorkshire Police PCSO is £31,524 a year, and of the 565 employed by the force 450 are partially-funded by outside organisations, at a annual total cost of £3 million. The remaining 115 are entirely paid for by the force itself.
A number of parish councils pay out thousands of pounds a year as a contribution towards having PCSOs in their area.
Todmorden Council contributes £19,000 a year towards the cost of two PCSOs, while Morley Town Council pays £56,000, representing 30 per cent of the cost of six PCSOs. Parish and town councils in Drighlington and Horsforth also pay for volunteer officers.
Among other organisations who chip in for the cost of PCSOs are Bradford Royal Infirmary, Leeds Markets, Wakefield District Housing, several schools and colleges in Bradford and the Owlcotes Centre in Pudsey.
West Yorkshire’s crime commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said last year that it would be “very difficult” to maintain the current numbers of PCSOs in the coming years because of cuts facing police forces and councils.