A crunch meeting for town councillors to decide on funding for six extra PCSOs for Morecambe has resulted in a 50% slash in the budget - meaning one less PCSO.
Morecambe Town Council has paid £67,608 towards the cost of Morecambe PCSOs every year since 2011.
But after an impassioned two hour debate they decided to cut the budget by half to £33,804.
Heysham North Ward Labour Councillor Carla Brayshaw said: “Our residents tell us ‘we value a police presence’ and PCSOs perform an important role in the community which could be reduced if we pull funding. “
Poulton Ward Labour Councillor Brendan Hughes said: “Nobody is saying police and PCSOs aren’t doing a great job but if we do cut two PCSO positions the money we save we can still take crime prevention as a priority. It’s not the job of a parish council to fund police.”
Westgate Ward Councillor Tracy Brown said: “I do understand we need PCSOs and the hard work they put into the town but we have a budget that has been reduced.
“With a 50% reduction we still have PCSOs, we still have cuts somewhere but we can still protect our people with some for the budget and some to put into the community.”
Bare North Ward Morecambe Bay Independent Councillor June Ashworth said: “I believe PCSOs perform a significant role in the community.
Harbour Ward Councillor Janice Hanson said: “£68k is a heck of a lot for a small parish council. If we spend over a third of our budget on PCSOs this prevents us spending it on other things.” Superintendent Nicki Evans told town councillors: “We understand how difficult it is to balance the books. The value and reassurance offered by PCSOs can’t be underestimated.”