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Thread of the Week

        

    new MILTON PCSO, Ellie Hains
from the March 05 Milton Village Bulletun
PC Phil Shulver and PCSO Ellie Hains Ellie Hains with PC Phil Shulver, Community Beat Manager.

A new PCSO, Ellie Hains, has started work and is in training now. She will be on the beat in Milton from April.

Various other organisational changes have also been undertaken to reduce the number of villages PC Shulver is responsible for and also to group beats together so that the Milton, Histon and Cottenham beats, each of which has a Community Beat Manager (Phil being ours) will share intelligence and cover for each other - so when Phil is on leave or away we will still have a CBM available who knows about the village.

UPDATE APRIL 05

You will be seeing Ellie on patrol around the village from now on. When you do please stop to introduce yourself and say hello. The more she gets to know our community the better job she can do.

    WHAT DO THE POLICE FEDERATION THINK OF PCSOs? adverts ask readers which one they would like to cut out
Tuesday, 6 December 2005    from the BBC news website:
Row over community officers' role

Police Community Support Officers, hailed as the future of policing in London, are at the centre of a row about their role. Full-page adverts taken out in two south-east London newspapers by the Metropolitan Police Federation ask for readers' views on community officers.

The federation, representing rank and file officers, says "real" officers are being replaced by the "new breed".

Community officers were introduced to provide a high visibility, uniformed and reassuring presence on London's streets.

'No sense'

They are now operating in every London borough tackling low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.
However, in contrast with fully-trained police officers, they cannot arrest people, have only basic equipment and are advised to withdraw from violent situations, jump to SITEMAP according to the federation.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Brian Paddick, said it was never an option to replace traditional officers. "It does not make any sense to reduce the number of police officers in London," he said. It is hoped to increase both the number of officers and community officers if the new budget is agreed and extra funding is allocated for terrorism, he said.

Glen Smyth, head of the federation, said: "It is a step too far if we reduce the number of officers fully-trained and fully-equipped and replace them by people who aren't fully trained and are not equipped and do not have powers."

    WHAT DO THE POLICE FEDERATION THINK OF PCSOs?
from the Daily Mail dated 6.12.05 page 35 :
Met fury over "cheap" recruits

SCOTLAND YARD is facing a backlash from its own officers over the increasing use of civilian recruits to patrol the streets. Leaders of the rank and file police union are spending thousands of pounds telling the public that their community support officer colleagues are a cost-cutting "con trick".

It claims the support officers - called 'Blunkett's bobbies' when they were introduced by former Home Secretary David Blunkett - are gradually replacing sworn officers who have the power of arrest. The campaign, paid for by the Metropolitan Police Federation, is being placed in newspapers covering parts of London, Essex and Kent. So far, it has cost £2,000 and it is thought to be the first time that a police federation has actively opposed a force policy.

The advert claims "The Metropolitan Police Service wants many more PCSOs. In fact it is cutting the number of ordinary police officers in London's boroughs to make room for them." The advert then invites the public to text or write in with their views. Scotland Yard denied it was cutting the number of conventional police to make room for support officers.

    WHAT DO THE POLICE FEDERATION THINK OF PCSOs?
from the August issue of metline:
PCSO’s court appearance is an evident disaster

The alarming consequences of the poor training given to PCSOs is graphically illustrated in this account from a Federation constable member in east London of what happened when one of them had to give evidence in court.

The police officer, who is a member of a Safer Neighbourhoods team writes:
I arrested a youth for Section 5 POA outside a school. It was a straightforward case involving a very nasty up-and-coming young man. I had a PCSO with me and a teacher came forward as a witness for police.

In court, the teacher gave evidence, followed by myself and there were no problems. But then the PCSO entered the witness box.
What followed can only be described as an embarrassment to the Metropolitan Police and will lead to an appeal against conviction.

The PCSO, when questioned, froze, gave completely the wrong answers, contradicted himself almost every time and was totally overcome by the whole occasion. He fell apart in the box.
In the words of the defence solicitor, we had two different ‘police officers’ giving two different stories.

The PCSO assisted the defence by disagreeing with his own statement and agreeing with the defence that his own statement was not correct. The statement itself, although a little brief, was correct and had been written by him two hours after the incident with no input (deliberately) from any other officer.
I have since questioned him, along with two other PCSOs and discovered that the only training given for court appearances came in the form of a 20-minute video. They have not been prepared for giving evidence in any sense of the word. As a result, police officers cannot have faith in PCSOs as witnesses.

The argument that they can give evidence as ordinary members of the public does not stand up to scrutiny. As the defence solicitor in this case intended, the magistrates and everyone else in the court saw two ‘police officers’ in the box giving evidence. They expected a professional case to be presented. That this was not done is unacceptable and represents a failure by the organisation.

The whole PCSO team needs immediate training in court procedure, evidence writing and the presentation of evidence in court. Without this training, they cannot be relied upon as professional witnesses.
I believe PCSOs should give evidence in plain clothes until this issue is dealt with. That way the court will accept that they are not trained police officers and treat them accordingly. As things stand, I feel there are serious implications for police officers as more cases are lost.

The PCSO in the case I have just described told me that he was very upset by the experience and feels let down by the Metropolitan Police Service.

    WHAT DO THE POLICE FEDERATION THINK OF PCSOs?
from the August issue of metline:
Sad reflection in The Mirror

From the news pages of the “The Mirror” comes a sad relection on the world of the London Police Community Support Officers.

When that paper sent a reporter undercover to join the ranks of the capital’s PCSOs he returned with a dismal tale of poor training, confused briefings, frightened personnel and neglect of duty.

Just a week later, the same newspaper came up with further revelations, many of a similar nature, from a PCSO who had “quit in disgust.”
The Met Federation, unlike other federations, has always seen a place for PCSOs – provided they are properly trained and appropriately used. We have said from the outset that they can be a valuable asset in the task of securing London against terrorism. But we have always warned of the consequences of employing them on duties for which they are not adequately prepared or equipped.

So far, our warnings have gone largely unheeded. The result: two damning national newspaper reports about the chaotic situation on the streets which has finally forced the Met to sit up and take notice.
Even now, its response to the situation is worrying.

Both stories described instances of malpractice by PCSOs and also by police officers. One actually alleges criminal wrongdoing by the two groups.

DAC Brian Paddick told The Mirror that there would be a full investigation by “our anti-corruption people.” There is, of course, no cause for surprise or complaint there. But where was any mention of looking again at the training of PCSOs, upon which depends their adequacy on the streets? Or, failing that, of confining their duties to those for which they have competency?
It is as if the Met hopes that these vital issues will disappear from the public view behind a smokescreen of disciplinary proceedings. The Met seems so dazzled by the concept of PCSOs that it cannot see clearly the dangers with which it is flirting as a result of its policies towards them.

Whenever the topic of PCSOs arises, the Met starts spinning – and is now spinning dangerously out of control. The amount of space devoted to stories about PCSOs in “The Job” newspaper is out of all proportion to their numbers within the organisation. There is a very real risk that other personnel in the MPS, including members of police staff, are going to feel undeservedly ignored and devalued.
This will help neither morale nor Commissioner Sir Ian Blair’s vision of working “together” for a safer London. And it is certainly no substitute for the actions we have recommended.

The London Evening Standard has recently been carrying stories about the growing number of residents’ groups in the capital which are hiring private security guards.
One focused on Kensington and Chelsea – a borough with a famously high concentration of PCSOs – in which it quoted a resident as saying “It makes me very angry that there isn’t a police presence.” So much for re-assurance policing by PCSOs.
In another story, the Standard quotes Commissioner Sir Ian Blair as warning: “We do not want security to become quasi-police.” Nor, we suggest, do Londoners want regular street policing done by quasi-police who are neither trained, equipped nor suited for the role.

Our message remains clear: we have no doubt that the majority of men and women who today wear a PCSO’s uniform would make excellent police officers. But they are not police officers and the Met does not invest in them as it does police officers. The Met has to recognise this and deploy them in ways commensurate with their training.

    WHAT DO THE POLICE FEDERATION THINK OF PCSOs?
from the August issue of metline:
What they said in the stories

In the first of two damning reports on PCSOs, Mirror readers learned that the officers were “badly trained, ill equipped and terrified of walking the beat.”

The story told the experiences of undercover reporter Peter Samson, who succeeded in joining the Met’s PCSOs. The Mirror claimed that its reporter, along with other recruits was not shown how to work a radio and received insufficient personal safety training. They were left confused about what to do if faced with violence, the story added.
The Mirror quoted a PCSO telling its reporter “It’s (the PCSO role) supposed to make the public feel safer but it’s a fraud. We’ve no powers and you’re advised to move away from dangerous situations because you’re not properly trained. Meanwhile, you’re stuck on the streets with no protection. The public don’t take you seriously and call you Mickey Mouse and PCs don’t even say good morning to you.”

The newspaper included excerpts from a ‘patrol diary’ which the reporter kept while at work. One entry describes the discovery of a suspected bomb. It reads: “Frantic police try to get all pedestrians and cars out of the area but are overwhelmed and unable to clear the streets. Meanwhile several PCSOs enjoy an extended refreshment break, playing on fruit machines and listening to the ‘excitement’ on their radios.”
Commissioner Sir Ian Blair responded to the story by saying: “Quite frankly, this experience of this journalist during his brief time with the Met is inconsistent with most people’s experience.” Most Londoners, he added, are supportive of PCSOs as are police officers who work alongside them on a daily basis.

The second Mirror story concerned a PCSO based in south east London who had quit his job. He claimed that local police had “no real idea how to deploy us and consider us to be more of a hindrance than a help.” He continued, “Most days we were more or less told to clear off, supposedly on patrol, to come back at the end of the shift and not to do anything very much while out on the street in case we created problems. The result was that most days PCSOs spend most of the day lounging about the police station.”
DAC Brian Paddick told the Mirror that the PCSO should be “applauded” for his revelations, adding “We are taking his claims very seriously.”
    and THAT is what the POLICE FEDERATION THINK OF PCSOs, so now you know!

QUIZ MENU

Shimmy's CRUCIAL PCSO TEST

    How do PNDs work? What are they and what's the point?
Bringing more offences to justice is conducive to net-widening practices

PNDs divert individuals from the court process to a procedure where rules of evidence are less stringent and fewer protections exist for the innocent or vulnerable.

Summer 2005    Rebecca Roberts

A PND is an on-the-spot fine for disorderly behaviour and can be issued by police, some community support officers (CSO) and a limited number of 'accredited persons' such as neighbourhood wardens and security staff. Plans have also been announced to extend the power to issue PNDs to parish councils. The official aims and purpose of the scheme include 'reducing the amount of time spent on paperwork and attending court, while simultaneously reducing the burden on the courts' and delivering 'swift, simple, effective justice, that carries a deterrent effect' (Home Office 2002).

PNDs can be issued to anyone aged sixteen and above and is expected to be rolled out to 10-15 year olds later this year. They are designed to be handed out on the street with minimal paperwork although they should be issued at a police station if the individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The issue of all PNDs are recorded on the Police National Computer (PNC) along with basic personal details of the individual involved. About half of the offences for which PNDs can be issued are recordable offences and in these cases, DNA and fingerprints are taken and linked to the PNC record.

Payment of the fine formally implies no admission of guilt and this is frequently cited as an advantage of the scheme. If the individual concerned pays within 21 days, he or she cannot be tried for the offence and will not acquire a formal criminal record. If the recipient refuses to accept the PND or wishes to contest it, then he or she will have to go to court for the case to be tried on the original offence, risking a criminal conviction if the PND is upheld. If the fine is unpaid within 21 days, the amount increases by 50 percent and is registered at the magistrates' court as a fine.

The number of offences for which PNDs can be issued has grown rapidly since they were first introduced. Fines are set within two tiers, at £50 or £80 (£30 and £40 for children aged ten to fifteen). They initially covered ten minor offences such as alcohol related disorder and 'behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress'. The latter offence can cover almost any type of behaviour - from teenagers hanging around on street corners, to intentional and targeted intimidation. In September 2004, the scheme was expanded to include minor theft and criminal damage. The list is frequently being added to and now covers more than twenty offences.

A diversion from criminal justice?

Penalty Notices for Disorder have been championed by the Government and police as an excellent way of tackling low-level disorder by diverting cases from the courts, administering speedy justice and freeing up the police from paperwork. Superficially, PNDs could be considered a progressive and positive development. Individuals accused of an offence are processed quickly. Payment of the fine is said to imply no admission of guilt and no formal criminal record is acquired. The Home Office (2005) has said that "this disposal ... provides a way for punishing offenders without drawing them into the criminal justice system" and this claim has been made in a number of official documents relating to PNDs.

PNDs do have the potential to be very effective in punishing more people and diverting cases from the courts. Yet the claim that individuals will be diverted from criminal justice all together needs further exploration. Where is it that these cases being diverted from and directed to, and what are the implications for justice and community safety?

The most obvious diversion is that of cases from the courts. Police are under pressure to meet targets to bring 125,000 more offences to justice by 2007/8 and PNDs provide a quick and easy way of meeting this target without placing additional demands and costs on the court system. Evidence from the pilots showed a reduction in the number of cautions and prosecutions following the introduction of PNDs (Halligan-Davis and Spicer 2004).
Behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress is recorded as an offence of 'violence against the person' and registered by the police as an offence brought to justice. This provides scope for forces under pressure to meet targets, to focus on minor offending to improve performance levels for detections and disposals. Hough et al (2005) refer to the probable influence of PNDs on violence statistics 'recorded offences of this sort increased by a third, and almost all of this was attributable to S5 harassment offences. In other words, the analysis provides strong circumstantial evidence that PNDs are now inflating the count of violence against the person offences'.

Hough et al also highlight the likelihood of police making increased use of PNDs due to targets of offences brought to justice.

Up until the addition of theft to the list of offences in September 2004, PND offences were 'summary offences' which if dealt with outside of the PND process, would usually be heard in the magistrates' court. The inclusion of a triable-either-way offence (theft) may be indicative of a move to divert cases not only from the magistrates' courts, but the Crown Courts as well. This shift from using PNDs for minor offences to more serious offences may increase as the list of offences for which PNDs grows. In this context it is worth considering the reduced opportunities available for a fair trial and the lack of formal justice processes and protections traditionally offered to those accused of an offence.

An interesting feature of PNDs during the pilot phase was their widespread imposition in cases that otherwise would not have lead to a criminal justice response, indicating a net-widening effect. In most cases PNDs were issued for either 'disorderly behaviour while drunk' or, the rather ambiguous, 'behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress' and it was estimated that 'between a half and three quarters of PNDs issued for these two offences were 'new business' (Halligan-Davis and Spicer 2004).

PNDs divert individuals from the court process to a procedure where rules of evidence are less stringent and fewer protections exist for the innocent or vulnerable. Guilt does not have to be formally established nor admitted and the result is an increased likelihood of punishment. But, if payment of a PND implies no admission of guilt, for what is it the individual is being punished? An 'offender' is punished for an 'offence' he or she does not have to admit to doing and for which he or she has not formally been convicted.

The details of those issued with PNDs are recorded on the PNC, and although this is not a formal criminal record, the reason for retaining this data is to identify repeat 'offenders'. The implication here is that the police will view the recipient as guilty of the offence which conflicts with the claim that payment of a PND is no admission of guilt. Under provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, issue of PND can be used to provide evidence of 'bad character'. There is a much greater incentive to pay the fine rather than risking a formal criminal conviction by challenging the PND in court. Yet, individuals paying the fine on the understanding that it would be end of the matter, could find it used against them in the future

Concluding points

Bringing more offences to justice is conducive to net-widening practices, and in the case of PNDs, the net is likely to be cast to the drunk, young, vulnerable or innocent. Zero tolerance approaches within target driven environments are unlikely to encourage problem solving approaches. In the case of PNDs, success is measured in terms of an offence brought to justice and reductions in paperwork, rather than whether harmful behaviour is reduced and resolution provided to those involved. No information has been forthcoming as to what impact PNDs have on levels of disorder and community safety - but perhaps they were never really expected to.

Summer 2005    Rebecca Roberts

random pages on pcsos-national
you can view 17 pages saved from national-PCSOs covering 2006 - 2007 issues right here or you may be more interested in one of our interviews, quizzes or features, the choice is yours!! Click on any item below that seems interesting to you!
2005 interview of the MET's VERY FIRST PCSO 'BAZZA'Baronsmirnoff, a top MET PCSO interviewed in 2006bigSi a PCSO with a passion for Landrovers interviewed in 2006a 2007 interview of veteran PCSO, CIDB
2006 interview of MET PCSO danielswindells2006 interview of Mum and PCSO: Dizzy!2006 quiz for first responders!! 2007 interview of PCSO UNISON Rep GlynB
slick 2006 quiz on the Human Rights Act!! 2004 interview of MET PCSO 'DIGGER' 2007 interview of veteran MET PCSO Jimbo elite trivia quiz for those who went to Kew in 2005
2007 interview of 30 years (service) PC micky 2005 feature on the "MIRROR SCANDAL" 2006 interview of Senior Member (MOD) mj12cz 2006 interview of top roving MET PCSO 'Mono'
2006 forum archives the first PCSO quiz on the site (2004) 2006 powers of arrest quiz (SOCAP) 2006 interview of our own counsellor Sueb

    POLICE STAFF MAGAZINE: OCT 2005
Chris proposes epilepsy support group

select to enter Police Staff Web Site When PCSO Chris Horyna joined the Metropolitan Police in 2003, he diligently declared that he had epilepsy, despite not having had a seizure for 16 years. Chris also stated that his seizures were medically controlled.

Chris duly began his duties on 31 April 2003 on the town centre team in Croydon, but joined the CWO team in Norbury after nine months, eventually settling with the Safer Neighbourhoods Team at South Norwood, where he is based today.

full support

All was going well. Then, on 16 August 2004, Chris suffered his first seizure since 1988. The Met were very understanding and offered Chris their full support, including time to recover. A week later, Chris went onto light duties, with his attached team shadowing him. During this time, Chris was able to check out the support groups within the Met and across the country, to see what was available for staff with a connection to epilepsy.

help and advice

Says Chris: “The closest I got was a support group run by the now-retired Tim Savage from the Met, for staff with diabetes. I asked Tim if he knew of an epilepsy support group. He confirmed that there wasn’t one, but that he regularly got calls from staff with epilepsy asking him for help and advice.” The conversation with Tim drove Chris to look at starting a support group for staff with a connection to epilepsy. “It will be open to all, regardless of rank or status, and will offer advice, help and information, including links to various health organisations,” says Chris.

Anyone interested in joining the group should contact Chris at Chris.Horyna@met.police.uk

       DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE POLICE STAFF MAGAZINE
              OCTOBER ISSUE (1 MB)               > SEPTEMBER ISSUE (4 MB) <

Big increase in police community officers
But move brings concern over future staffing levels
BY mark Lavery

HUNDREDS of extra police community support officers will soon be pounding West Yorkshire's streets.

Row

But the huge increase in numbers from the current 470 to an estimated 1,100 PCSOs in three years' time has sparked a row over fears the move could affect future levels of fully fledged police officers.

West Yorkshire Police chiefs say up to half of uniformed officers on patrol in the county will be support officers by the end of 2008.

The support officers, dubbed by some critics as "plastic police," have no powers of arrest and do not carry batons or handcuffs.
At a meeting yesterday West Yorkshire Police Authority, members backed Home Office proposals to drastically increase the numbers of PCSOs in the county.

The Government has agreed to pay 75 per cent towards paying for the increase in PCSOs, but it will cost police an extra £5m a year when the major recruitment drive is completed in 2008.
Tom McGhie, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "We think police officer numbers will fall to fund the increase in numbers of PCSOs. They have got to find 25 per cent of the cost of funding these PCSOs from somewhere, either by increasing council tax precepts or funding from partners. We have got concerns that won't happen and police officer numbers will fall.

"PCSOs have very limited powers. We have had anecdotal evidence that people committing crimes know the difference between PCSOs and police officers, and we don't believe the PCSOs we have on patrol are actually deterring crime."

Defined

But West Yorkshire chief constable Colin Cramphorn said the support officers will target anti-social behaviour problems, freeing police officers time to deal with more serious incidents.

He said: "No-one expects classroom assistants to carry out the full range of duties that a teacher does and the same is true of PCSOs. They have a very clear and defined role that is not the same as a police constable, it's additional."
mark.lavery@ypn        08 October 2005

    News Shopper: Thursday 24th November 2005
TV bobby helps the real force

select to access original news story on this article
A CELEBRITY policeman made a guest appearance at a new community office in a part of the borough which has been without a station for four years.

Alex Walkinshaw, who plays Dale Smith in TV series The Bill, helped open the Biggin Hill and Darwin Community Office in Biggin Hill High Street.
The office is a base for the Safer Neighbourhood Team, made of Police Community Support Officers, police officers and a sergeant.

It opens from 11am to 1pm on weekdays and offers most of the services of a police station.
But it cannot assist people on bail who have to return to a police station. Borough commander Chief Superintenden Martin Greenslade said: "Bromley police are committed to improving and enhancing community safety.

"The community office makes us more accessible by enlisting the support of volunteers and by working together we are helping to make the area a safer place."

    from News Shopper: Thursday 24th November 2005

PCSO powers:
new standardised powers out for consultation

September 2005: POLICEPROFESSIONAL gayek@policeprofessional.com

Community support officers are set to be standardised across the service, in a bid to remove public confusion over their role. The Home Office has launched consultation on introducing a set of standard powers for CSOs. It said it was to ensure that CSOs played a “full role in neighbourhood policing, free up more police time, and to ensure that the public fully understand the role of CSOs.”

But the consultation document admitted that the public are unclear over the role of CSOs as each chief constable can decide what powers their CSOs should have, selected from Schedule 4 of the Police Reform Act 2002. This means the powers available to CSOs vary from force to force leaving members of the public unsure of their role.

“This is confusing and disorientating and leads, many members of the public to think that CSOs have no powers at all,” the consultation document states. Home Secretary, Charles Clarke said “CSOs are valuable members of the police family and provide excellent support to local communities. They have been well received in their communities and have had an impact on low-level crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.

“The Government believes that it is now time to introduce a standard set of robust powers for CSOs. This will help the public understand exactly what CSOs can do, and allow CSOs to handle more issues on-the-spot, freeing up more police time to deal with serious offences. The detail of what a set of standard powers might look like has not been finalised, but of course there are a number of important powers that remain to be designated at the discretion of the chief constable. We are consulting widely and welcome the views of key stakeholders and public alike.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales welcomed moves to standardise powers, but raised concerns regarding CSO’s use of force to detain people. Alan Gordon, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said “We remain unconvinced of the need for PCSOs to have the ability to use force while detaining people. We also believe chief officers should not retain the discretion to alter those powers to suit their needs as this merely adds to the confusion. Standardised powers should be just that – standardised.”

The Home Office wants the set of standard powers to be based on the following principles:

  • All CSOs should have key enforcement powers that allow them to take action against anti-social behaviour, in particular the power to require name and address
  • Alcohol is a serious problem throughout the country and all CSOs should be able to take measures in the neighbourhoods they patrol to minimise the damage that it causes, therefore powers to deal with alcohol abuse should be included in a set of standard powers.
  • CSOs have a critical role to play in neighbourhood policing and it is important that they have sufficient powers to play a full role as part of neighbourhood policing teams.

Comments are also invited from police forces only on the cost of training CSOs and equipping them with the new powers as well as inviting people to suggest further powers that may enable CSOs to carry out their role more effectively.

The full consultation is available on the Home Office website. Comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper should be addressed to Rebecca Sims, Neighbourhood Policing Fund Team 6th floor, Fry Building 2 Marsham St, London, SW1P 4DF or email csopowers@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk closing date for responses is Wed 26.Oct 2005

TOP TEN police sites 2006
# SITEDESCRIPTIONNOMINATED BY
5police specialsThis is the site that I visited when I was first interested in joining the Specials. All those questions I had wondering what it was really like and what the selection process was like were answered by serving specials and regular officers. Also, now PCSO's are part of the force they are regular contributers too and have a place on the site. I know it has helped many regular Officers and Specials start out and thankfully there are now a lot of PCSO's involved too. michael
6police could youThis is a great site for any person who's considering a career within the Police Service. This site caters for people wanting to bacome Police Officers as well as Support Staff. You can access a link to show current vacancies around the UK. You can fill out an 'online application form' and save and track your application at anytime. You can even read up on what happens from the point your application is received. alihowe
7Worldwide Police ForumsPrivate member forums, reference posts, Latest News and all this from Police Forces around the globe markluker

    ARCHIVE
Alarm at plan to use community support officers to tackle beggars, drinking and carrying weapons

Alan Travis, home affairs editor
Friday August 13, 2004
The Guardian

A major extension to the powers of police community support officers, dealing with beggars and underage drinkers and searching suspects for weapons, forms part of the police reform proposals published by the home secretary, David Blunkett, yesterday. But it is the proposals to extend the powers of community support officers - civilian patrol staff whose numbers are set to rise from 4,000 to 24,000 in the next four years - that attracted most criticism. The CSOs already have the power to issue on-the-spot fines and detain somebody for 30 minutes until a constable arrives.

But the consultation paper envisages a major extension of their role so more fully-trained police officers are free to concentrate on other duties. Ministers would like to see them given powers to issue warnings to beggars, confiscate alcohol from underage drinkers, enforce local bylaws, direct traffic and search some suspects for weapons. Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said the proposal could blur the line between CSOs and the police and devalue the work of trained officers.

"Searching suspects and arresting them is the job of the police," he said. Even the Association of Chief Police Officers voiced their reservations. Vice-president Denis O'Connor said there was a need to rationalise some of the powers CSOs held. "However we would sound a note of caution at any major extension of powers for CSOs before the Home Office evaluation [of them] is complete." A Leeds University study of their impact in West Yorkshire suggests they can make a difference to public perceptions of safety and crime levels.

For full story at Guardian Unlimited select this link

        

select to enter the world of JOHN CHILD Once again the Police Federation see fit to condemn me and my colleagues for what we are trying to achieve. The Federation stance/attitude was the same to the Special Constable when they were on our streets until the Fed saw fit to invite them to join there organisation, i wonder why....something to do with money/subs etc????

I am also a PCSO based in Central London and have been so since day one when we were first introduced. For the last 2-3 years of my life i have had to put up with all sorts of abuse and insults from this organisation which likes to think it represents all rank and file officers. Mr Kelly states that when someone calls for the police then they expect a police officer.....guess what Mr Kelly? You call the police and you will still get a police officer.

When is this Federation going to realise that we PCSO's are an addition to the police family and NOT a replacement or substitute for the warranted constable. To proove this point, we have a record number of police officer in service at the moment, last count being over 140,000. It was also interesting to read in Febuary's edition of the Federations monthly magazine that the Safer Neighbourhood Teams which consists of a Sergeant, 2 x Constables, 4 x PCSO's had nothing but praise for such schemes and it also stated, and i quote....."There seems to be no question that the Safer Neighbourhood Team and Changes in Common seem to be creating poitive changes in the community" pages 19, 20 and 21 of Febuarys Police Federation magazine 2005.

Since i have taken to the streets in September 2002, i have had nothing but praise from members of the public simply because they are relieved to see some form of uniform walking outside there front doors again. Many police officers are also full of praise for myself and my colleagues for the way we interact with our communities. I love my job and i am very proud of what i do, i just wish the Federation would stop misleading the public into thinking we are a cheaper option to the Constable when dealing with crime. WE ARE AN EDITION TO THIS OUT DATED SERVICE AND NOT A REPLACEMENT. Steve, London 11/03/2005 at 09:52

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Having read more bad news about PCSO's I feel I must comment being a PCSO myself for the last 17 months. Our roles are to deal with Low Level Crime and Disorder which predominately means dealing with Nuisance Youths and Anti-social Behaviour, you know the things that really get on peoples nerves and Police Officers just don't physically have the time to deal with. A Police Officer can be tied up for hours when they arrest a Shoplifter for example. We have dealt with Graffiti, Underage Drinking and Smoking and gathered so much intelligence which has lead to the closure of 'Crack Houses' and gathered evidence for ABC's and ASBO's to be drawn up for the Courts. We reasure the elderly who live on our Beats and take part in lots of community meetings, working as a multi-agency approach to solve problems and issues in our local communities. I am passionate about the area in which I work, and thrive to make it a better, safer place for the residents. I sincerely hope that in the future our role is respected and valued for what it really is. We are the EARS and EYES for the police, with crime figures falling and excellent resuts being achieved. Alison Howe, Essex 10/03/2005 at 21:38

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It's interesting that in the same copy of the Manchester Evening News, we have "Crime Detection Rates Too Low" and "Cops Slam New Hobby Bobbies". On the one hand, they are implying that the police aren't doing their jobs as well as they should be, and then they are saying that the police are worried that someone else is being brought in to do their job. They can't have it both ways. If they aren't perfoming, how can they complain if they have to step aside and let someone else do the job properly. We pay their wages and if they wont protect us, we want someone who will. Paul, Manchester 10/03/2005 at 20:33

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It's a shame when we have to rely on such people, but when existing police offers (and there are a lot of them) abuse the system and try and get payouts and 'desk jobs' within the Force, this is where our monies go. I used to work for GMP and the number of female officers who went through the 16 weeks training and then demanded equal pay to their male colleagues - and at the same time didn't want to work out on the streets, but have a cosy desk job instead - was unbelieveable and at the same time a waste of taxpayers money. ALL police forces have to clean up their acts and make sure that we don't have to rely on those fantastic people who offer to patrol our streets after completing a day's work elsewhere. Anon, Manchester 10/03/2005 at 13:24

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Cooking oil and a pen-knife free Kiera

First published on Thursday 25 March 2004:
This is Herefordshire

PCSO Shane Jenkins with his prized mountain bike was the supermarket `superman' who appeared from nowhere

A HEREFORD couple have praised a supermarket `superman' who appeared from nowhere to use a pen-knife and cooking oil to free their bawling baby stuck in a shopping trolley. Panic mounted for Tina and Kevin Bishop when they realised their 11-month-old baby Kiera was entangled in the trolley during their weekly shop at Belmont's Tesco store.

"She managed to get her foot in the gap near the handle of the trolley. Her leg slipped further down and she couldn't get it out," said Kevin. Baby Kiera became hysterical and her distressed parents rushed to customer services to see if they had anything they could unscrew the trolley with - but they had nothing to offer.

Instead, the staff raced Kiera, complete with trolley, to the cooking oil section to try and free her trapped leg. A crowd of onlookers gathered before Kiera was eventually prised out of the trolley when the Swiss Army knife-brandishing community support officer came to the rescue.

CSO Shane Jenkins, who works alongside regular police officers in the Belmont community, was on his regular rounds when he popped in to Tesco for a quick chat with staff members. "A member of staff walked past me looking quite distressed and pointed towards the tobacco kiosk where the commotion was.

jump to SITEMAP "I heard a young child screaming and she was stuck fast. It was amazing how she managed to get her foot stuck in such a small gap. "I usually carry a multi-tool with me and it was a stroke of luck I had it with me at the time," said CSO Jenkins who said he was happy to be of help. Using the pliers attachment to bend the bars back on the trolley, he released Kiera, who, apart from a small scratch and a slight bruise, appeared to be okay.

"If he hadn't been there, the staff were thinking of calling the fire brigade," said Tina. Kevin, a transport manager at Wincanton, wanted to thank the quick-thinking actions of the supermarket staff as well as the community support officer. Now Kiera refuses point blank to go in a trolley. Tina said: "I don't know what we are going to do now when we go shopping - one of us will have to carry her!" This site is approved by DMOZ

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