5 Oct 2007

PCSOs 'should not be used to replace police'

York Press: "POLICE community support officers (PCSOs) must not be used to replace fully-trained bobbies - that is the verdict of North Yorkshire's police federation". Branch chairman Mark Botham was speaking out after the news that PCSOs in some parts of the country are to be given more powers to ease the burden on front line cops.

Mark summed up the whole issue when he said; "But they are what it says in the name - Community Support Officers. They are not police and they should provide a support role. They should be employed in addition to, and not in place of, fully trained, fully equipped fully sworn professional police officers."

It's getting to be something of a 'stuck record' listening to police officers banging on about the poor old PCSO but none of us actually have a beef with them as individuals. Some of them perform very worthwhile functions, no the problem is the way in which the Government and senior police management use them... It's nothing short of conning the public and providing policing on the cheep! Money should be invested in fully-trained officers. If not be honest, don't dress them up as proper cops to deceive the community and be open about their roles and responsibilities. Give them all exactly the same uniform and powers all over the country so everyone knows who it is they are actually dealing with and what they are able to do.

York police chief Iain Spittal might have told The Press "PCSOs play an integral role in our safer neighbourhood teams. The feedback I'm receiving from the public is that PCSOs are very valued and that they are doing work which is helping improve the safety of York and Selby." I would probably agree but the vast majority of he public just want to see a uniform presence on the streets, they're not really bothered about the detail. That being the case why not revert to the cardboard cutout cop or cardboard patrol cars? That would save even more money!

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