Funding for Police and Community Support Officers will be protected until 2016, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has pledged.

Mark Burns-Williamson has ring-fenced £17.8 million a year of funding to continue to pay for PCSOs across the county as part of his commitment to protect neighbourhood policing.

The reassurance was given amid fears neighbourhood policing teams will be seriously affected by severe cuts to the police budget.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: “I will be maintaining the level of funding for PCSOs for three years across West Yorkshire. PCSOs, working as part of our neighbourhood policing teams with police constables, provide an invaluable service in our communities, and I have pledged to protect neighbourhood policing, which is a key priority in my Police and Crime Plan.”

Mr Burns-Williamson added that in April, policing teams will work with officials from local authorities, charities, volunteers, other emergency services and businesses.