Reports today have suggested; Community Support Officers only solve one crime every six years, and consequently they aren't worth employing, according to figures obtained by a FOI request and reported in The Daily Mail. The government immediately countered by saying detecting crime was not in the CSO remit. That's correct, but it's also not their remit to take the place of fully sworn police officers and that's the reality on our streets.
The Police Federation's Alan Gordon said: "PCSOs have been seen by some as a cheap alternative to police officers, who can make the public feel safe... we were right to be concerned about what benefits they bring to the table."
In the past year the number of PCSOs nationwide has nearly doubled. Talking of double, how can it be economically sound when CSOs nearly always work in pairs and, police officers (who's starting wage can be significantly less), are often expected to work alone?
A Home Office spokesperson also said: "To attempt to measure their success solely by looking at the number of penalty notices and crimes they detect is to miss the point". And here is the most important point. If they are not expected to have their performance 'measured' why then are police officers?
If CSO's should be free from the the encumbrance of KPIs and allowed to provide reassuring visible patrols, surley police officers should be afforded the same luxury? In addition, the police officer can fully deal with whatever they come across, The CSO can't!