A hundred extra Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will be funded by the Welsh Government, Mark Drakeford has confirmed today.

The first minister said PCSOs provide "a vital link between neighbourhoods and police services" and are "recognised for their willingness to become part of their communities".

South Wales Police will receive the most new PCSOs (41), while Gwent Police and North Wales Police will each receive 20. Dyfed-Powys Police will receive 15 new PCSOs, while the remaining four will go to British Transport Police. 

Responsibility for policing is not devolved to Wales, but the government here has funded some 500 additional PCSOs since 2016. The 100 officers announced today take that total to 600 funded by the Welsh Government.

Drakeford made it a campaign pledge during the recent Senedd election that his party would fund the additional officers, prompting a row with the Conservatives.

While the Tories said ministers in Wales should draw a line between devolved and non-devolved matters, Welsh Labour said it had been forced to step in because of longer-term UK government cuts to policing budgets that affected both Wales and England.

PCSOs share many of the same responsbilities as regular police officers – they can stop people, require people provide names and addresses, seize some items, and issues fines – but while they can detain people in certain situations, they do not have powers to arrest people.

They tend to be used, as the name suggests, in more community policing roles and can often be found on the beat.

Drakeford today praised the nation's PCSOs for their "unwavering commitment" and "critical" role during the coronavirus pandemic.

And social justice minister Jane Hutt said: “Communities right across Wales have appreciated the vitally important difference that PCSOs make to their neighbourhoods.

"It’s clear to see that they’ve fast become part of their communities and have ensured that when there is a problem, individuals know their local PCSOs have their best interests at heart.

"Their work to identify and understand local issues has enabled a focus on early intervention, ensuring that local support services can link up and deliver for our communities."

Alun Michael is one of Wales' four police and crime commissioners, elected officials who serve as representatives between forces and the communities they serve. 

On the funding for the 100 new PCSOs, he said: "Their financial commitment enables the four Welsh forces to press ahead with the additional recruitment and to restore and enhance this important frontline resource in each of our communities at the same time as tackling the competing demands of tackling violent crime, drugs-related exploitation, domestic violence and abuse and internet-enabled crime."

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