Future Role, Powers and Equipment of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)

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2008 Police Staff Service Group Conference
26 June 2008

Conference notes with concern the continuing lack of consistency over PCSO powers, uniform, role and equipment across England and Wales. Conference is particularly disappointed that:

1)The original concept of standard powers for PCSOs was significantly watered down by stakeholders;

2)The continuing discretion allowed to Chief Constables over PCSO powers has resulted in a patchwork approach to the PCSO role, which is confusing for the public and frustrating for our PCSO members;

3)The wide variation in PCSO uniform, and the inappropriate uniforms issued by some forces, continues to detract from the authority and effectiveness of the PCSO role;

4)The ongoing refusal of a small number of forces to issue PCSOs with stab vests flies in the face of common sense and places those members affected in needless danger every day they are on patrol;

5)Some forces are using PCSOs in inappropriate non-front-line roles, which damages the PCSO image and effectiveness.

Conference welcomes the findings of the Casey Report Engaging Communities in Fighting Crime published in June 2008. The Report identified that:

·Those who had seen and met PCSOs in their area were very positive about the role they play

·53% of the public said that they were doing a good or excellent job

·There were high levels of public support for PCSOs having stronger powers

·92% of the public surveyed felt it was important for PCSOs to have the power to detain

·91% said it was very or fairly important that PCSOs wear a uniform that shows they are part of the police service

·87% felt it was important that PCSOs wear the same uniform across the country

Conference also welcomes the recommendations of the Casey Report that:

·Maximum abstraction rates should be set for PCSOs as a condition of ring-fenced funding allocated to police forces

·Powers to detain and to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for disorder should be added to the standard set of powers and duties that apply to all PCSOs

·Standard PCSO uniforms and equipment should be adopted nationally

Conference calls upon the Service Group Executive to continue to campaign for:

a)All current PCSO powers to become the standard powers available to every PCSO;

b)The power for PCSOs to issue fixed penalty notices, or report on summons, where motoring offences have been committed;

c)A standard identifiable uniform for PCSOs across England and Wales comprising: force crest, blue and white chequerboard hat/cap band, ‘Police Community Support Officer’ to be clearly identified on the uniform;

d)All PCSOs to be issued with stab vests;

e)A new PCSO supervisor role to provide career development;

f)An end to the concept of the volunteer PCSO.