PCC Sue Mountstevens and Bristol Mayor George Ferguson
“We met today to talk through our respective budgetary positions.
Having both been elected on the same day in mid November, we have each inherited extremely tough financial positions – and a legal duty to set a balanced budget before the end of the financial year, so that Council Tax bills can go out.
“This means closing a financial gap of £35 million for Bristol City Council, and £7 million for Avon and Somerset Police.
“We focused particularly on PCSOs. Over recent years, the Council has contributed funding to the Police to top up the number of Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs), currently funding 32, with Police funding a further 80 in the city from their own resources. It is the funding of these 32 that the Mayor has revealed he proposes to withdraw, to contribute a saving of £540,000 next year towards the City Council’s £35 million total required.
“These PCSOs have made a significant difference in promoting community safety and reducing the fear of crime, and we join together to pay strong tribute to their work as part of the wider police family.
Crime has dropped in the city consistently over recent years, particularly violent crime, and Bristol is a very safe city to live, work and study in, and to visit.
“We spoke frankly and without pulling punches, but also each listened respectfully and openly to each other today with a genuine spirit of cooperation. As a result, we have agreed that the Mayor will go back and reflect further on the matter, before publishing his final budget plans.”
Posted on Wednesday 9th January 2013