Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Scene Preservation

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2014 Police & Justice Conference
26 June 2014

Every day somewhere up and down the country a crime will be committed that requires the scene to preserved for evidence. This could be for a matter of hours, days or weeks dependent on the crime. As police forces face massive cuts in finance police community support officers (PCSOs) are being utilised more and more for this role- therefore freeing up front line police officers. This has led to concern about the health, safety and welfare of PCSOs in these times of austerity for the following reasons:

1)PCSOs are lone workers in vulnerable situations at many scenes of crime;

2)PCSOs often have little or no access to welfare or refreshment facilities whilst preserving evidence at scenes of crime;

3)PCSOs have employment rights which are often overlooked when being deployed for a length of time on scene preservation;

4)PCSOS are deployed onto scene preservation scenes for long periods of time in all weathers without due recognition of the Working Time Directive. This includes the loss of rest breaks and exceeding duty hours

Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to:

a)agree robust national guidelines with the College of Policing for the deployment of PCSOs on scene preservation;

b)issue guidance for branches to assist in negotiating procedures for deployment of PCSOs in scene preservation at local level;

c)campaign for better management of PCSOs on scene preservation with more robust training for PCSOs and managers

d)seek to ensure that all police forces implement appropriate and robust risk assessments taken from national guidelines.