Police force gets £6.8m to get support officers on beat in Carmarthenshire
EXTRA Welsh Government cash is now in place to bring more police community support officers onto the streets of Carmarthenshire
The Dyfed-Powys force has been given £6.883 million for 74 officers — 27 of which are being deployed in the county.
However, the future of the officers remains in doubt after it emerged their funding for 2015/16 has been set aside for redundancy packages.
The facts were due to be presented in a report to Dyfed- Powys Police Authority today.
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Authority spokesman Phil Nutting said 45 of the 74 new support officers had already been recruited and deployed on the beat.
The rest would be on patrol by March next year, he added.
He said: "It is not known at this stage whether or not the Welsh Government will be in a position to make further funding available for these posts beyond March 31, 2015.
"The authority, working with the Government, is putting in place financial contingencies to cover all possible outcomes.
"The Welsh Government will cover the cost of any potential redundancies in the unlikely event that they should arise."
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it was paying directly for 500 support officers across Wales.
"This will deliver real benefits to communities across Wales and represent a significant increase on the number of officers on the beat," she said.
"It represents an investment of over £40 million over the next three years, which covers the current spending review period."
She said beyond 2014/15, the Welsh budget settlement was uncertain until the UK Government's next spending review.
The introduction of support officers has been broadly welcomed with the public who want to see police officers back on the street.
In Llanelli, Councillor John Jenkins said: "The PCSOs play a vital part in neighbourhood policing.
"I think it would be a concern if there is a time limit to the funding."
Mr Jenkins added: "They are popular with the public, however there is a sense of frustration they do not have the full powers they need to do their job properly."
He said he was with some support officers recently when they saw a woman drive past in a car while using her mobile phone and not wearing her seatbelt.
"The officer said at the time there was nothing she could do whereas a full officer would be able to take action," he added.
In the South Wales Police force area the number of Police and Community Support Officers (PCSOs) has shrunk by 14 from 310 in September 2010 to just 297 in September 2011.