Amid a decline in police numbers nationally, local authorities are to pay the wages of officers who are assigned to specific tasks in their areas to allow their local forces recruit additional staff. The move will be pioneered by Barnsley MBC in south Yorkshire and
Nottingham City Council.
In April, Barnsley will hire a team of police officers to combat problems on housing estates, paying their wages from council-tax receipts. The council hopes to hire a sergeant and four PCs at a cost of£500,000. In Nottingham, councillors are planning to pay for 10 full-time officers to combat a series of gang attacks by teenagers in the city.
Nottingham, which will approve the plans next month, is spending£500,000 on the initiative.
Two new officers will be taken on and others will be seconded from Nottinghamshire Police, freeing up the police's own money to pay for extra staffing.
Oliver Heald, a shadow home office minister, said: 'Councils should not have to pay for police officers out of their own budgets. The government should be paying for recruitment'.
Nottingham City Council leader Graham Chapman defended the scheme. 'This is a national first', he said. 'It shows our faith in the police. Other councils have gone down the route of private security firms but we want the real thing with real powers'.