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PCSO ORIGINS

September 27, 2002 .... the first PCSOs
September 27, 2002 .... the first PCSOs in London Welcome addition: One of London’s first PCSOs Jason Kirlew (left) joins the Commissioner and Home Secretary David Blunkett with fellow PCSO Debbie Cross (right).

THE first official duty of Police Community Support Officers was coined an “historic day in policing” by Commissioner Sir John Stevens.

A total of 44 PCSOs took to the streets of Westminster on Monday for their first duties out of Charing Cross and Belgravia Police Stations.

Home Secretary David Blunkett and Chair of the MPA, Toby Harris, joined the PCSOs and the Commissioner on their first duty. By March next year, a total of 300 security PCSOs will be undertaking duties in central London and will also be based at Heathrow, London City Airports and Canary Wharf.

Welcome

The Commissioner said: “These PCSOs will provide a very welcome additional presence in central London. Their presence will also free experienced and highly trained police officers to tackle crime.”

The 44 PCSOs, aged between 18 to 58, will be working on routine security duties and the tackling of nuisance behaviour only.

As the Met is one of the six forces selected for the pilot of giving PCSOs detention powers, a legislative change in December will see PCSOs able to detain individuals for up to 30 minutes.

The Met’s first squad of PCSOs have undertaken training from ex-police officers into areas including human rights awareness, diversity and ethics, personal safety, emergency life-saving, radio procedure, process and evidence gathering.

As well as gaining practical street skills with Westminster officers, the new recruits will have an additional week of training before their powers take effect on December 1. They will be issued with protective vests and radios but will not carry batons, CS spray or handcuffs.

Mr Blunkett said the MPS has led the way and had successfully trained the first PCSOs. “More than half the forces across England and Wales have applied for these officers – demonstrating the commitment there is among the police. PCSOs are not an experiment – they are the way forward.”

Chair of the MPA, Toby Harris said their work should go a long way to reducing anti-social behaviour and making London’s communities safer.

“Later this month I will be considering recommendations concerning the allocation of PCSOs to the boroughs.”

above article courtesy of the Metropolitan Police newspaper "The Job" Volume 35 issue 888

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     12 February, 2003
Media briefing

Deputy Commissioner offers boroughs Police Community Support Officers ‘partnership’

The introduction of Police Community Support Officers represents an extraordinarily bold experiment which will provide the public with the sense of reassurance they expect, declared Ian Blair, Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police, addressing a meeting of central London business people.

The event, which was jointly organised by Central London Partnership, the public-private sector sub-regional partnership and the Westminster Property Owners Association, was held at the headquarters of Grosvenor, the property development company, and chaired by Colin Redman, Director of Trusts, Grosvenor.

Police Community Service Officers, or PCSOs as they are more commonly known, were first introduced in September 2002. Although they don’t have formal powers of arrest, they are able to detain people for up to 30 minutes, prior to the arrival of a police officer, as well as having a range of other powers, including the ability to issue fixed penalty points for anti-social behaviour, provide security cordons and search vehicles for suspect packages. PCSOs operate as permanent presences in their community and are ‘ring-fenced’, which means they aren’t diverted to other areas.

‘The public wants visibility and accessibility from its police and PCSOs are a crucial means of delivering this,’ said Mr Blair. At present there are 200 PCSOs patrolling in Westminster, with 500 due to be operating across London by the end of March and 1000 planned to be on the streets by the end of the next financial year. 27 forces across the country have now bid for funds to roll out PCSOs in their own patches.

Waltham Forest PCSOs hit the streets The presence of PCSOs will make a huge contribution towards instilling the sense of safety and confidence which the public is demanding, said Mr Blair. ‘Ironically, despite the fact that overall reported crime fell by 33% between 1995-2000, the public’s perception is very different. The public wants to see officers on the streets, yet over the same period the Metropolitan Police has experienced a huge exponential growth in demands on its resources which has significantly reduced the number of ‘beat’ officers available. The volume of 999 calls has increased by 60% over the past five years, while an ever-increasing number of additional complex tasks have been asked of the police, such as dealing with counter-terrorism, drug-trafficking and gun crime.’

Although action was already underway to increase the numbers of police in London, at the rate of 1500 per year, the after-effects of September 11th proved to be the turning-point, said Mr Blair.

‘In the immediate aftermath, crime levels dropped dramatically for two days. But the massive rise in London crime figures following the removal of 1500 officers from the boroughs to patrol Westminster, convinced London of the need to widen the ‘police family’ by creating an extra layer of officers.’

Looking ahead, Mr Blair vowed that the numbers of police officers and PCSOs would continue to rise while also offering to forge partnerships with the boroughs by providing a franchised service to allow them to ”buy” PCSOs and regain the ground the public believes has been lost.

‘There is already a huge amount of public and private money being spent outside the police family, especially on the variety of warden schemes,’ said Mr Blair, ‘but we believe that bringing it back inside the Metropolitan Police would mean that it could be spent more effectively.

‘The more uniformed police we see on the streets the better – we are an essential part of the community and how we interact with it is crucial.’

First Met PCSOs hit London streets Met launches first PCSOs

The Commissioner Sir John Stevens was joined by Home Secretary David Blunkett for the launch of the PCSOs at Charing Cross Police Station on Monday 23 September, 2002. Their introduction in London follows proposals in the Government’s Police Reform Act.

The Commissioner said: "This is an historic event for policing and we are pleased that recent legislation has enabled us to extend the policing family in order to make a difference on our streets.

“These new Community Support Officers will provide a very welcome additional presence in central London. Working with our police officers they will be the Met's extra eyes and ears on the streets, on hand to help and reassure the public as well as providing an extra level of security. Their presence will also free experienced and highly trained police officers to tackle crime.

Thursday, 30 May, 2002 BBC NEWS
Delight at 'police helper' inquiriesThis is how PCSOs were envisaged in 2002

The prospect of becoming a police helper has proved very popular with Londoners.

More than 2,000 people phoned Metropolitan police to request information on how to become a police community support officer (PCSO) in the capital.

Commander Richard Bryan said the interest in the 500 posts had been "higher than we could have hoped for".

The plan for civilian officers is part of major reform of policing - but the PCSOs will not have any actual powers until the Police Reform Bill becomes law possibly next year.

Mr Bryan said: "We have had a very positive start to the campaign. Now we need to see if the interest can be translated into applications."

In the first week of its recruitment campaign, the Met received 2,158 telephone enquiries and another 517 hits on the internet site.

Increased powers

The Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, launched the recruitment campaign - Something New is Coming to London - last Thursday.

Sir John said: "The first Police Community Support Officers we recruit will perform the vital role of security patrols in central London, deterring criminals and providing intelligence to police officers."

The successful recruits can expect to earn about £21,000 and will initially only have the same powers as any other civilian.

However, when the Police Reform Bill becomes law their powers could be increased to include detaining suspects and enforcing cordons around suspected terrorist incidents.

18 April 2003
SPECIAL REPORT:
Civilians turned crime-busters
PCSO Robert Reed in uniform

WHAT do a part-time firefighter, a former benefits officer and a one-time security guard have in common?

The answer is, that they are all part of the latest crime fighting team attempting to bring law and order to one of the city's most afflicted areas.

These members of the public have turned crime-busters and are now patrolling the streets of Orton Goldhay in police uniform, following intensive month-long training courses in law and self-defence.

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are one of the first signs in Peterborough of Home Secretary David Blunkett's attempt to crackdown on juvenile offenders.

In the weeks since March 31, when they first reported for duty, they have already seen a disturbing trend of gangs of youths terrifying residents.

PCSO Lorna Gibbons said: "There have been a lot of complaints about eight to 15-year-olds causing problems, and stealing cars.

"They are threatening young people who make adults' lives hell. I spoke to a lady yesterday who was too terrified to leave her house. She is a 40-year-old mother, who is neither vulnerable or elderly."

PCSO Robert Reed, who is also a part-time firefighter in Huntingdon, said: "Each area has its own gang.

"There is not one big one in Orton Goldhay, but each estate has a different group causing problems."

One of the jobs of the PCSOs will be to gather evidence which will be used in applications for Anti-Social Behaviour Orders on juveniles.

PCSO Reed said: "We will be able to attend more incidents in the city, be more visible than police officers might be able to be, and develop links with the community.

"All these things will help us when it comes to gathering information."

Cambridgeshire police had to act quickly after Mr Blunkett revealed £77,000 would be available to support the scheme in the city for one year.

The six new PCSOs were assigned to the Orton area because police believed it would benefit most from the type of policing they provide.

They concentrate on low level crimes including littering, dog fouling, cycling and traffic offences.

But most of their time has been taken up by youths running riot.

PCSO Vicki Docking said: "Only yesterday, I chased two youths who had climbed into the grounds of the Bushfield sports centre.

"When I caught up with them they just acted sheepishly."

But youngsters are already testing the PCSOs, who have no greater powers of arrest than any other member of the public, to the limit.

PCSO Gibbons said: "Some of the younger ones shout, 'You can't arrest us' and things like that."

"But we can call for back-up," added PCSO Reed.

At present, the PCSOs are patrolling with full police officers, but, after gaining experience, they will go out in pairs.

As their name suggests, they will provide support to full-time officers.

But because of their limited training they will not be expected to help if they have reason to fear for their safety – unlike the rest of the force.

PCSO Jayne Sparks, a former DVLA and benefits office worker, said: "Of course it is something we have all thought about.

"What do you do if the officer you are with, or are called to assist, is in trouble? I think it is a judgement call you have to make at the time."

Now Cambridgeshire police has bid for an additional 113 PCSOs, who could be dispersed across the county.

If the bid is successful and some are sent to Peterborough, they will be shown the ropes by the six who are already blazing the trail.

PCSO Reed said: "We are the guinea pigs. We are having to learn as we go along and without anyone who has done it before to teach us.

"But you never stop learning whatever you do. And I would recommend this job to anyone. We've been told by officers in the Ortons that the level of crime has dropped dramatically in the weeks we've been on duty. That is the effect of PCSOs – they ward off criminals and reassure the public."

report courtesy of "peterborough today" 18 April 2003

2002: the first day of training check out Bazza right here!

I was really nervous the first day of training, but after the first day I was ok

I knew what to expect, I was sure it wouldn't get any harder, I was just wondering if there was a pass or fail.

I learned on the second day that there was not any pass or fail, which concerned me greatly, as I knew some people couldn't even write or speak properly.

On our final day we were a bit annoyed when they showed us the uniform, because on the back of the hi-vis, the wording had changed. (we learned later on that this was down to pressure from the fed) Nobody liked the hat or the colour blue, but it was stated that the uniform may well change in the future as it was new etc. (yeah right)

Bazza!

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