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 ringfenced £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 that 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 said that in April policing teams will work with officials from local authorities, charities, volunteers, other emergency services and businesses.

He said it would not affect the number of frontline officers or PCSOs, but police staff and officers would share premises, information and intelligence with the other agencies, to provide improved services.

The model has been developed in Wakefield and will come to Bradford, Leeds, Calderdale and Kirklees in the near future following a series of consultation and engagement events.

Mr Burns-Williamson said the new way of working would “increase the reach of all organisations working to ensure the well-being of our communities and ensure the joined-up thinking and approach to tackle problems at a local level”.

Chief Constable Mark Gilmore said: “I am pleased that this funding has been guaranteed for the next three years. PCSOs do a great job as part of our neighbourhood policing teams.

“We are committed to providing a world class policing service and PCSOs play a key role in this by engaging with and reassuring our communities.”