A R C H I V E S page 4 of 10
PCSOs want consistent powers
Police Community Support Officers, who played a vital role during and after the London terrorist attacks, want a consistent set of powers across England and Wales.
PCSOs have been granted different sets of powers in different forces, which confuses the public and offficers. UNISON’s PCSO members have also called for a full review of personal protective equipment, such as stab vests.
Ben Priestley, UNISON National Officer said: “PCSOs played a vital role in all the major cities and towns in the UK during the terrorist attacks. They were patrolling train stations and streets, being a visible police presence and providing public reassurance. Rather than being labelled as ‘plastic policeman’, they were praised for their dedication and call to duty. But our members feel they still need to be treated as professionals and have the proper tools to do the job.
“The first step is having a national set of powers so they can deliver what is expected. The ad-hoc approach of giving powers throughout the country is causing confusion in the service and for the public about what a PCSO can do.” UNISON is also pushing for a national set of terms and condition for PCSOs, calling the service a ‘dinosaur’ when it comes to employment rights for police staff
Ben Priestley added: “We still have the unacceptable situation of each force having different rates of pay for PCSOs. Some forces pay their PCSOs £3,000 less than their neighbours. We will be putting in a claim for a national rate of pay for a national role.”
Police support officers play a vital role in our communities
JUST like the old-fashioned bobby, they pound the beat on the streets of Peterborough reassuring the public and deterring crime. Police community support officers may not have the same powers as regular police officers, but in the past two years they have have helped make the city a safer place for everyone. Features Editor Rachael Gordon reports.
"I ALWAYS think of the relationship between police officers and police community support officers as being like that between doctors and nurses," said Gonda Davy, PCSO for the Ortons, Peterborough. The police officers are the doctors carrying out the major operations but we are the nurses who are out there in the community taking care of the more minor day to day issues that might not be as serious, but have just as much impact on people's lives. "The graffiti, vandalism and anti-social behaviour that we deal with affect everyone's quality of life. But, while we may have different roles, we are both as important to the day to day lives of the neighbourhoods we serve." Gonda was one of the first six police community support officers (PCSOs) who started patrolling in the Ortons at the end of March 2003 as part of a Home Office pilot scheme.
Since then a further 27 PCSOs have been taken on and trained by Peterborough Police and they now work in all areas of the city. Gonda said: "At first there were some youngsters who gave us a bit of verbal abuse, saying you can't arrest us and calling us plastic pigs, but in the main the public love us.
"From the first day we arrived in the Ortons you could see residents breathing a sigh of relief, and saying thank goodness there is a police presence here now. They find it very reassuring, and we are a real crime deterrent because they see the uniform and from a distance they can't really tell the difference between us and a regular officer. And, because we are constantly out in the area we work, we get to know everyone in the community and they trust us and tell us things they might not normally report to the police. Our powers are being extended all the time, only this week we were given powers of detention, which means that if we ask a person's name and address who we suspect to have committed a crime, and they refuse to give it to us, then they have committed an offence, and we can ask them to remain with us for 30 minutes. "If they refuse to do this they are committing a further offence.
"We have police radios and can call for back-up if we need it, and we work very closely with the community beat managers in our local areas. We work the same shifts as they do, and they can call on us if they need assistance."
Gonda said she loves the flexibility of the job and the fact the role is constantly evolving.
She said: "It is good to know the work that you do can make a real difference to people's lives. It's difficult to single out particular examples because every time you help a member of the public you know the job you are doing is worthwhile.
"One day we came across an elderly gentleman who had tripped hit his head, and was bleeding quite badly. We administered first aid until the ambulance arrived and then visited him at home to check how he was getting on. He was so pleased to see us and so grateful for what we had done. "And if we move on groups of youngsters who are hanging around the shops, people will stop and thank us because they can find gangs of young people quite intimidating, even if they aren't doing anything wrong. When there was a rise in the number of thefts from vehicles in the Ortons, which were happening in the middle of the night, we got together with the community beat managers and changed our shift patterns, so we started at 3am and 4am patrolling the area. "After three or four nights an arrest was made, and I helped to recover some of the stolen items."
The Government wants to employ 25,000 PCSOs across the country by 2008.
There are currently about 6,000 working for different police forces nationwide.
Chief Inspector Steve Selves of Peterborough police said: "With restricted numbers of police officers and an an ever-increasing demand placed on them, there is less time available for them to spend policing the community.
"So PCSOs give us the opportunity to give a better quality of service to the public and an extra dimension to policing.
"Not only do they provide a visible and familiar presence in the community, but they can also carry out a number of tasks that were historically performed by police officers. This releases those officers to tackle those areas of policing only police officers can deal with. We are delighted with the progress that has been made, and the way PCSOs have integrated into the policing family. "Not only are they doing a tremendously valuable job, but they have also been accepted into the community and have proved to be a very good deterrent against crime."
01 April 2005
The 2005 calendar was put together by John Child, a graphic designer who graduated at the Kent Institute of Art & Design Rochester in 2001, with a degree in Model Making.
John has been producing cartoons for this and other websites for almost 6 months without a hitch.
Cartooning has been constant throughout his life. Originally he drew to make friends laugh through school but then found new fans through college, university and now work.
Thu 12 May 2005
Use of Handcuffs by 'Plastic Policemen' Attacked
By David Barrett, PA Home Affairs Correspondent
A decision to allow the Government’s controversial “plastic policemen” to use handcuffs was attacked today by a police officers’ leader. British Transport Police has become the first force to allow civilian community support officers (CSOs) to cuff suspects.
About 160 CSOs who patrol railways have been issued with the new equipment and are believed to have used them on a number of occasions. But the leader of the BTP Police Federation, Alex Robertson, warned the move was a “further erosion of police powers”.
“Using handcuffs is a far more aggressive intervention with suspects and that in itself is a slippery slope towards out-and-out confrontation,” said Mr Robertson.
“This is a further erosion of police powers.”
CSOs were created by David Blunkett when he was home secretary, and first took to the streets in September 2002. Chief constables can grant them powers to use “reasonable force” to detain suspects for up to 30 minutes until police officers arrive.
Mr Robertson said: “If after 30 minutes, officers have not turned up then the suspects must be released – and that is all the ingredients for a very severe public confrontation, to put it mildly.” In contrast to BTP’s decision to accelerate the civilians’ powers, another force recently withdrew its CSOs’ ability to use reasonable force when detaining suspects. Lancashire Constabulary said the step was taken to “reduce the potential for conflict to arise”.
Last year the Home Office announced plans to extend the number of CSOs from the current 4,000 to 25,000, at a cost of £50 million. CSOs are paid as little as £14,094 a year, compared with £22,107 for a police officer after initial training.
In December an official Home Office study said there was only “limited evidence” CSOs had helped reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. The introduction of CSOs has been opposed by some sections of the Police Federation, which have described CSOs as “Blunkett’s bouncers”, “plastic policemen” and “yellow-clad numpties”.
CSOs already have powers to hand out fines for a wide range of offences. Proposals in the former Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill, now lapsed due to the election but expected to be re-introduced, will see the wardens given extra powers to search detained suspects and people engaged in anti-social behaviour, enforce certain licensing offences, direct traffic and deter begging.
Poured-away beer dampens festival spirit
Jun 7 2005
By Steve Bagnall, Daily Post
COMMUNITY police officers were yesterday accused of being heavy-handed, after they poured beer away at a charity music festival.
Angry visitors to the Redi Daze festival in Wrexham's Bellevue Park were incensed, claiming officers were emptying drinks onto the grass in front of them on Saturday.
They also claimed people were ordered to empty their cans by community support officers patrolling the event.
But last night police denied the community support officers had acted in a heavy-handed way. Police chiefs said the park warden was unable to say whether alcohol was banned at the event.
The festival is run by a small number of local music fans on a non-profit basis. This year's festival raised money for Hope House Hospice, which cares for terminally ill children. Barry Phillips, from Wrexham, who was at the festival said: "One lad came up to me and told me to hide my beers because police were walking around telling people to pour them away. "It seemed totally uncalled for. There was no trouble at all, but the police were walking around as if they were policing a football match - it just wasn't like that at all."
Hundreds, including families, were at the third annual free festival, featuring popular Welsh bands.
One mum who did not wish to be named, is sending a letter of complaint to the police.
She said: "There was absolutely no trouble at the festival. There was a great atmosphere.
"But these officers were going round the park emptying people's beer out onto the floor. It was arrogant.
"I appreciate what the police do and this was a perfect opportunity to improve community relations.
" But it isn' t any wonder youngsters have no respect for them with this kind of piggish behaviour."
A police spokeswoman said: "In the past residents around Bellevue Park have suffered from drink-related anti-social behaviour.
"As a result the local authority decided to include the area in the designated no alcohol zone.
"At Saturday's event our police community support officers inquired with the park official as to whether an exemption was in place but he was unable to say.
"We are liaising with the local authority with regards to future events at the location."
Acts at the festival included Cream Tangerine, Nemonix, Dexadrina, Riesen, Jellybean Magic Society, Narcosys, Censure, the Jan Watkins Band and Dirtee Rotten.
Police force calls for 'supercops' in reform package
By John Steele, Home Affairs Correspondent
(Filed: 14/03/2005) Policing should be re-shaped with a core of fewer, better trained and highly paid "supercops" supported by teams of auxiliaries, according to reforms put foward by a police force. full story here
Surrey Police wants to be able to recruit detectives, 999 response officers or neighbourhood constables at £40,000 a year and train them to a higher, specialist standard than the "general" officers of previous eras. The officers would "orchestrate" the policing of a neighbourhood, or an inquiry, and, like teachers, would lead teams of assistants.
The force claims its pilot scheme - based on core units of one officer with full powers directing three or four auxiliary "community support officers" (PCSOs) or civilian staff - has speeded up inquiries, improved detections and increased action against low-level crime and disorder. Mark Rowley, Surrey's assistant chief constable, says in a paper to be presented to a conference in Guildford next week that radical change is overdue. The force argues that, rather than undermining the status of the "bobby on the beat", its system of mixing officers with auxiliary back-up would maintain the role of the constable and enhance the police presence on the streets.
Mr Rowley says: "The evidence from Surrey is that approximately 70 per cent of officers' time is spent on simpler tasks, readily dealt with by an auxiliary tier of police staff such as PCSOs.'' It is envisaged that PCSOs would deal with lower-level offences of disorder and nuisance and that auxiliary investigators might help detective constables by taking routine statements.
The Surrey view, which is based on what it says is a realistic expectation that no Government will pay for all the extra fully trained officers needed, suggests that the Government's "focus on police numbers" is blocking the flexibility needed. Mr Rowley warns that several factors have made policing "unsustainable without major reform" - creating a "gap" between expectations and what police can do.
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Big increase in police community officers
But move brings concern over future staffing levels 08 October 2005
BY Mark Lavery
HUNDREDS of extra police community support officers will soon be pounding West Yorkshire's streets.
But the huge increase in numbers from the current 470 to an estimated 1,100 PCSOs in three years' time has sparked a row over fears the move could affect future levels of fully fledged police officers.
West Yorkshire Police chiefs say up to half of uniformed officers on patrol in the county will be support officers by the end of 2008. The support officers, dubbed by some critics as "plastic police," have no powers of arrest and do not carry batons or handcuffs.
At a meeting yesterday West Yorkshire Police Authority, members backed Home Office proposals to drastically increase the numbers of PCSOs in the county.
The Government has agreed to pay 75 per cent towards paying for the increase in PCSOs, but it will cost police an extra £5m a year when the major recruitment drive is completed in 2008.
Tom McGhie, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "We think police officer numbers will fall to fund the increase in numbers of PCSOs. They have got to find 25 per cent of the cost of funding these PCSOs from somewhere, either by increasing council tax precepts or funding from partners. We have got concerns that won't happen and police officer numbers will fall.
"PCSOs have very limited powers. We have had anecdotal evidence that people committing crimes know the difference between PCSOs and police officers, and we don't believe the PCSOs we have on patrol are actually deterring crime."
But West Yorkshire chief constable Colin Cramphorn said the support officers will target anti-social behaviour problems, freeing police officers time to deal with more serious incidents.
He said: "No-one expects classroom assistants to carry out the full range of duties that a teacher does and the same is true of PCSOs. They have a very clear and defined role that is not the same as a police constable, it's additional."
08 October 2005
Beat goes on for Natalie
A YOUNG police community support officer (PCSO) has completed her training and now hopes to become a police officer.
Natalie Bottom (24) says she joined up for the scheme because she enjoys working with people.
She said: "I was working at a shop beforehand, and when I found out about the PCSO training it really caught my eye, and I decided that was what I wanted to do.
"I've had a brilliant year working with all the police officers, and I've found the role really fulfilling – so much so, that, in September, I'm planning to start training as a police officer."
Natalie has been supported in her training by Pc "Snowy" Aga, who worked hard to familiarise Natalie with the city and its residents, and has passed on valuable tips. Pc Aga said: "She's been brilliant, a real pleasure to have around. She's very hard working, and I wish her all the best for the future.
"PCSOs play a valuable role in the city, meeting members of the public, assisting police officers and dealing with minor incidents.
"They are, basically, the eyes and ears of the community."
12 August 2005
Good news: your jobs are safe...
They have limited powers but are seen as playing a crucial role in raising the profile of the police and improving community links.
Many of them use the job as a stepping-stone towards becoming police officers.
North Wales' CSOs are on temporary contracts and paid £18,000.
But two weeks ago they were informed by the force's human resources department they would be expected to sign permanent contracts with salaries of £16,000 a year.
One CSO from Western Division, who did not want to be named, said: "They've got us over a barrel because if we don't accept the reduction we won't be taken on.
"It's a case of like it or lump it. "But I know of some who are definitely looking for other jobs because they can't afford to take such a pay cut," he added..
"It's a real kick in the teeth - especially when we know that the communities we work in appreciate what we are doing."
He said a job evaluation exercise carried out throughout the force placed them on a Grade 4 level.
But they were upgraded to level 5 some three months ago, a move which took their pay to about £18,000.
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Call Up to Tackle Vandals in Park
GRAFFITI vandals are to be cleaned out of Stanley Park.
Since the end of October, Blackpool's 256-acre oasis has been plagued by spray-can-carrying youths who use whatever they can find as their canvass.
The bandstand, the clock tower, even hedges and bushes - little has been left without a 'tag', the signature of the graffiti artist. And some of the graffiti is disturbingly racist or abusive, darkening the park's reputation and making it less inviting for visitors.
Now, one of the police officers who patrols the site wants everyone with an interest in the park to come together and beat the vandals once and for all.
Police Community Support Officer Darren Chappell has caught some of the artists in action - and doesn't want to see them back.
PCSO Chappell said: "We will never be able to reach a utopia where we are faced with no crime in the park but we want to do the best we can to bring the park up to the standards we want.
"We want everyone to get on board - local residents, council and Friends of Stanley Park - to take back ownership of the park and reduce the incidents of graffiti that we see."
PCSO Chappell has proposed a volunteer day in the spring for people to lend a hand in the anti-graffiti battle. Among his ideas are getting the culprits to be the cleaners.
In November, PCSO Chappell and his colleagues heard the distinctive sound of a spray-can rattle in the darkness around the bandstand and caught three artists red-handed.
Others who have been caught have been fined and when their parents are told, they promise to come back and clean it up.
PCSO Chappell added: "This represents a great opportunity to have previous graffiti offenders come in and clean off the damage they have done.
"Since October we have had a lot of damage. On one day, someone walked through the park and literally tagged everything they came across.
"It is this type of behaviour we want to stamp out."
Eddie Fewings, a member of the Friends of Stanley Park, said his group will be fully behind the scheme. Mr Fewings said: "We think it is an excellent idea and applaud the police action being taken to make the park safe. All of the officers who work Stanley Park have our full support for the job they are trying to do.
"But their efforts are being continually let down by the courts and justice system who do not hand out sufficient punishments to act as deterrents.
"Let's hope the volunteer day shows just how strong people in this area feel about this." Anyone who wants to volunteer for the clean-up should contact PCSO Chappell at Blackpool South Police Station on (01253) 604202.
07 January 2006
We're short of officers claims policeman
28 December 2005 11:48
A long-standing city policeman says officers in Norwich are being left dangerously short-staffed and without adequate back-up. An officer with 15 years service has written to the Evening News to express fears over policing in Norwich, following revelations of why city police were quitting the force.
The officer, who did not want to be named, wrote: "We are dangerously short-staffed on the front-line, constantly being asked to attend dangerous jobs with insufficient back-up.
"It is only a matter of time before a serving Norfolk officer is seriously hurt as a result."
The letter comes just days after Norfolk's chief constable Carole Howlett wrote to us defending the running of the force. Last week a Freedom of Information request by the Evening News revealed why officers in Norwich had decided to leave their jobs.
The Central Area exit interview papers raised a raft of concerns, including complaints over too much paperwork, political correctness, resource mismanagement, poor senior management and long hours. The officer's letter continued: "Your article in relation to criticisms of our job is spot on, but unfortunately the picture is much worse than this.
"Officers are continually having their rest days cancelled to cover shortfalls, and I regularly work 12 hour shifts without a meal break, due to shortages.
"In my service I have seen front line staff levels drop by more than half and the management response is to 'risk assess' things and refuse to believe the situation is bad."
The letter goes on to state how community support officers have no real powers and have just created more work for police, and of how the administration system is tying officers up in red tape. In her letter to the Evening News Ms Howlett said she was aware of officers' concerns about paperwork and that the force was doing everything it could to remove that burden.
She wrote: "Of course, resources are never enough to do what we would like to do, but we will always try to make the most of what we have through an intelligence-led approach to policing and to providing as much support to our officers and staff as possible."
She added that of the 21 officers within the Central Area (out of 448) to have left over the past five years, nearly half had been relocated to other forces or retired.
She wrote: "From speaking to colleagues in commerce and industry, I know that most managers would be pleased to settle for annual turnover rates of only one per cent of the workforce."
Simon Morgan, police spokesman, said it was well known that the constabulary had finite resources.
"However, every effort is made to ensure that those resources are used and deployed in the most effective way to the benefit of the communities we serve.
"Our specialist units are operated by teams of highly trained and specialist investigators and provide support to frontline policing. They continue to prove to be an essential resource.
"The management team proactively listens to front line officers concerns and act upon suggestions made to them."
Norwich North MP Ian Gibson said: "This is not a new claim; it is one I have kept hearing over the past few years.
"The Government maintains it is putting more police into service, but the question remains as to where those police are going and what their priorities are.
"I do wonder whether we are getting the best out of our policemen and women.
"Their prime focus should be on catching criminals and preventing crime.
"I hope that is still the case at the moment, rather than deciding over mergers."
Last month rookie police officer Sharon Beshenivsky was killed when she attended an armed burglary in Bradford. Her death has rekindled the debate over whether the British police force should be fully armed. What do you think about the police officer's claims? Write to Letters, Evening News, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or email email@example.com
We must avoid the T-word, says BBC
By Matt Born
Daily Mail page 29 dated 17.12.05
The BBC has reignited the row over the use of the word "terrorist" by again warning journalists to try to avoid it. In an advisory memo, the Corporation says that "terrorist" is politically loaded and should be used only 'sparingly.' The updated editorial guidance - sent to all BBC journalists - has angered some, who said the word has effectively been banned.
Martin Bell, the former BBC war correspondent and ex independent MP, said he was baffled by the Corporation's unease over the 'T - word.' "It seems quite simple to me: a terrorist is someone who tries to inspire terror in civilians for political or ideological ends,' he said. 'It may be somewhat more difficult [a label to use] in the Middle East, but when you have something like the bombings in London it is quite black and white: it was a terrorist act.'
The latest row follows the furore over the BBC's coverage of the July 7 attacks when journalists were urged not to refer to the London bombers as 'terrorists'. At the time BBC bosses, including director-general Mark Thompson insisted that the word had not been banned. But the Daily Mail discovered that head of news Helen Boaden had sent a memo to senior editors reminding them of guidelines that prohibit words which 'carry emotional or value judgements' and found that subsequent stories had been re-edited to remove "terrorist."
The latest briefing note , which the BBC says is simply a 'clarification', states that the guidelines 'do not ban the use of the word'. It goes on, 'However we do ask that careful thought is given to its use by a BBC voice. There are ways of conveying the full horror and human consequences of acts of terror without using the word "terrorist" to describe the perpetrators. And there are a number of important editorial factors that must be considered before its use to describe individuals or a given group can be justified.'
The guidance, which has been approved by the BBC board of governors, says the BBC recognises 'the existence and reality of terrorism - at this point in the 21st century we could hardly do otherwise.' But journalists should try to avoid using the term themselves, it adds.' [This is] not because we are morally neutral towards terrorism, not because we have any sympathy for the perpetrators .... but because terrorism is a difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones.
This was a particularly sensitive issue because the rise of digital media meant that there was no longer a clear distinction between domestic and overseas audiences. BBC news bulletins can be watched over the Internet so journalists cannot assume they are talking primarily to a British audience, it said. The edict reminds staff of the current editorial guidelines which state that "the word terrorist" itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. It adds "We should try to avoid the term without attribution. It is also usually inappropriate to use words like "liberate", "court martial", or "execute" in the absence of a clear judicial process.
Instead of 'terrorist' it suggests reporters use words such as 'suicide bomber', 'bomber', 'assassin' or 'gunman'. The guidance concludes "This is an issue of judgement ... If you do decide to use the word "terrorist" do so sparingly, having considered what is said above and take advice from senior editors.
One senior BBC journalist said, "Here we go again. It is madness. What happened in London on July 7 was a terrorist attack plain and simple. To say they have not banned the word terrorist is disingenuous. Everyone working here understands that it will be frowned on if they do use it. No one - especially younger reporters, will want to have to confront their boss over it."
Crime 'enforcers' take to trains
Wednesday, 9 November 2005
A team of 40 uniformed officers tasked with deterring troublemakers and fare dodgers is starting work on trains and stations in the South East. South Eastern Trains, whose services run into London from Kent and East Sussex, is the first train operator to have Rail Enforcement Officers (REOs).
The officers have the power to issue penalty fares and on-the-spot fines.
Transport Minister Derek Twigg is to despatch the first dozen REOs to their duties at Victoria Station on Thursday.
'Play key role'
"The officers have been trained to enforce railway bylaws and to follow South Eastern Trains' (SET) zero-tolerance policy on crime," said spokesman Nigel Jarrett. The male and female REOs have accreditation from British Transport Police.
Their role is described as similar to that undertaken by community support officers working with police forces. "They will play a key role in reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and fare evasion," said Mr Jarrett.
SET, which runs 1,700 trains a day and manages 178 stations, hopes to have 60 officers working on the network by next spring. Chief Constable of British Transport Police Ian Johnston, said: "I am sure SET customers will benefit enormously from having these trained and trusted individuals to help keep them safe."
new standardised powers out for consultation
September 2005: POLICEPROFESSIONAL firstname.lastname@example.org
Community support officers are set to be standardised across the service, in a bid to remove public confusion over their role. The Home Office has launched consultation on introducing a set of standard powers for CSOs. It said it was to ensure that CSOs played a “full role in neighbourhood policing, free up more police time, and to ensure that the public fully understand the role of CSOs.”
But the consultation document admitted that the public are unclear over the role of CSOs as each chief constable can decide what powers their CSOs should have, selected from Schedule 4 of the Police Reform Act 2002. This means the powers available to CSOs vary from force to force leaving members of the public unsure of their role.
“This is confusing and disorientating and leads, many members of the public to think that CSOs have no powers at all,” the consultation document states. Home Secretary, Charles Clarke said “CSOs are valuable members of the police family and provide excellent support to local communities. They have been well received in their communities and have had an impact on low-level crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour. The Government believes that it is now time to introduce a standard set of robust powers for CSOs. This will help the public understand exactly what CSOs can do, and allow CSOs to handle more issues on-the-spot, freeing up more police time to deal with serious offences. The detail of what a set of standard powers might look like has not been finalised, but of course there are a number of important powers that remain to be designated at the discretion of the chief constable. We are consulting widely and welcome the views of key stakeholders and public alike.”
The Police Federation of England and Wales welcomed moves to standardise powers, but raised concerns regarding CSO’s use of force to detain people. Alan Gordon, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said “We remain unconvinced of the need for PCSOs to have the ability to use force while detaining people. We also believe chief officers should not retain the discretion to alter those powers to suit their needs as this merely adds to the confusion. Standardised powers should be just that – standardised.”
Comments are also invited from police forces only on the cost of training CSOs and equipping them with the new powers as well as inviting people to suggest further powers that may enable CSOs to carry out their role more effectively.
The full consultation is available on the Home Office website. Comments on the issues raised in the consultation paper should be addressed to Rebecca Sims, Neighbourhood Policing Fund Team 6th floor, Fry Building 2 Marsham St, London, SW1P 4DF or email email@example.com closing date for responses is Wed 26.Oct 2005
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Police reforms 'could cut number of cops on street'
12 October 2005
MEMBERS of the Metropolitan Police Federation have warned that Home Office reforms could reduce the number of police on the streets of Haringey.
Sceptics see the reforms - which transfer duties to Police Community Support Officers - and a spending review by the Met as a means of cost-cutting and reducing numbers of fully warranted officers. The scheme has been on trial with success in Bexley.
Glen Smyth, chairman of the MPF, said similar reforms could have a "devastating" effect on Haringey. He said: "There is a very strong suspicion that many of the things that are being promoted are simply to push through budget cuts but are disguised as something else."
Mr Smyth believes the only reason for the experiment working in Bexley was a huge cash injection from the Home Office. He said: "What they are doing at Bexley, if they do replicate that throughout the other 31 boroughs clearly it would mean one of two things: either they would need millions of pounds more or they would have to cut police numbers to pay for it."
The Metropolitan Police's commitment to rolling out the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams across every ward in the next 18 months is going to further add to the cost of policing the borough, according to the MPF.
A spokesman for Haringey Police denied officer numbers in the borough would be affected. He said: "Police numbers in Haringey are at the highest they have been since records started. With the growth of Safer Neighbourhood Teams those numbers will increase in the near future. There are no plans to reduce the number of warranted police officers in Haringey. more info here
Handcuffs row in war on rail yobs
May 24 2005
By James Glover, Liverpool Echo
POLICE support workers have started work on Merseyside trains, with handcuffs to detain troublesome passengers. A unit of six officers has been hired by Merseytravel to police trains and platforms for anti-social behaviour.
As community support officers, they were originally hired to deal with low-level crime and barred from making arrests. Now they have been issued with handcuffs and told to keep offenders under lock and key for up to half an hour while awaiting help.
The British Transport Police Federation has condemned the decision, saying the force is on the "slippery slope" towards arming support officers with CS gas and batons. But BTP said the equipment was necessary to protect the new staff from people who get violent when stopped.
Merseyside became the first area outside London to get CSOs to work with transport police when Merseytravel gave £420,000 to train the five men and a woman. For 10 weeks, the officers received training in the law, policies and patrolling before they were sent out on duty in pairs to tackle troublemakers.
Powers to issue on-the-spot fines were already in place, but the government ruled they could also use "reasonable force" to detain suspects..
The BTP is the first force in the country to issue CSOs with handcuffs, but officers have been told they can only detain suspects for 30 minutes. A spokesman said the staff had been given handcuffs to give them some protection when they were a distance away from traditional officers.
But BTP Federation chief Roger Randall is concerned officers will be attacked if they release suspects.
Human rights charity Liberty said the group was "concerned" at civilian officers being given handcuffs.
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Park rangers axed to make way for police
By Johnathan Schroder
Enfield's park rangers are to be axed to make way for a dedicated team of police community support officers (PCSOs) to patrol the borough's open spaces, it was agreed last week.
Within weeks all 18 park rangers will be issued with redundancy notices to make way for 15 PCSOs who will have the support of a six-strong outreach team charged with dealing with conservation issues.
The decision, made at a meeting of Enfield Council's Cabinet on Wednesday, has infuriated residents who have been campaigning for the retention of the park ranger service. Protestors, who handed a 3,000-strong petition to the council earlier this month, have slammed the move as appalling, labelling the council "underhand" and "undemocratic".
However the council's environment supremo Terry Neville said the recent protests had been in vain as the decision to disband the park ranger service was taken in January.
Last week councillors were asked to choose whether they wanted a parks constabulary or a PCSO-based Metropolitan Police service to patrol the parks the retention of the park ranger service was never an option.
He said the topic had been widely discussed at the borough's area forums and by the council's environment amenities and parks scrutiny panel between September 2004 and January 2005.
Campaigner Christine Callaghan, of Ivy Road, Southgate, who regularly walks in Trent Park, said: "It is absolutely appalling no-one knew what was going on and no-one from the council came to the parks to ask users their views. "We are all of the opinion that if the council can't take note of 3,000 signatures it is scary."
However, the council's director of the environment, John Pryor has refuted campaigners' allegations, and blamed their concerns on misunderstandings. He said: "There is nothing we currently do which we will not do as a result of these changes.
"All these new arrangements are about improving the parks service and meeting the concerns over safety in parks. I think the decision taken this week and the current financial investment will ultimately be seen as the start of a bright new future for Enfield's parks." The council is also ploughing in £3million over the next two years to improve playgrounds and infrastructure in parks.
12:10pm Thursday 28th April 2005
Support officer held in BNP row
Martin Wainwright and Hsiao-hung Pai
Friday May 27, 2005
Police have arrested one of their community support officers after allegations that he arranged vehicle number checks on behalf of activists in the British National Party.
Andrew Matthews, 29, from Garforth, Leeds, was held in custody overnight after colleagues detained him when he arrived for work at Morley police station, West Yorkshire.
The move followed the handing over of a dossier by the Yorkshire Post newspaper which also suggested that Mr Matthews was asked for information about criminal proceedings being taken against leading members of the rightwing group.
West Yorkshire police have headed the investigation into alleged incitement to racial hatred by the BNP's leader, Nick Griffin, and a group of activists in Bradford. Another local case involves Karl Hansen, who stood for the BNP in Huddersfield at the general election and pleaded guilty last week to drugs charges.
The dossier includes an alleged copy of Mr Matthews's BNP membership card. Police were forbidden to join the party in a directive in January from the Association of Chief Police Officers. West Yorkshire's chief constable, Colin Cramphorn, recently circulated a reminder.
Nick Cass, the party's Yorkshire organiser, said yesterday: "We certainly wouldn't be asking anyone to check anything on a police computer, or anything like that. And certainly not a community support officer. They can't even carry handcuffs, let alone check computers. But if he's committed illegal behaviour, then that's his own problem."
Sam Kirk of Unite Against Fascism in Leeds said: "We are pleased that the police are taking action."
Support officers patrol Bridlington
POLICE Community Support Officers took to the streets of Bridlington on Monday after completing their initial training.
The four PCSOs started work with Humberside Police in late February and joined the division this week.
They will each be given areas of the town to patrol and for the final stage of their training they will receive extra training tailored to specific problems that they will potentially face on their own patch.
Richard Bastima, 37, will patrol the town centre. He said: "I decided to become a CPSO because I wanted to do something different when I came to work each day. I also wanted to help in the community and bridge the gaps."
Daniel Cammack, 22, has recently finished a sports degree and is to patrol the north of the town. He said he was also looking forward to helping in the community.
Lynda Anderson, 43, who previously worked as a prison officer, will be out and about in the south of the town. She said: "I wanted to work in the local community and the visibility of seeing us on the streets is important."
Jonathan Dylan, 25, will patrol the Havenfield Estate, Old Town and Quay Road area. Before deciding to become a PCSO he was in the Merchant Navy and hopes to one day become a regular police officer.
Insp Steve Page, police spokesperson, said: "Following their introduction to the force, they started a comprehensive modular training package with the first two weeks spent at Hornsea Police Station.
"That part of their training included guest speakers from the police and external partners and health and safety training.
"There was a high standard of first aid training, safety training and radio familiarisation."
They then visited their chosen division and spent their final two weeks at the police training centre in Hull, which involved theory and law.
20 April 2005
Prison Officers PCSOs H A T O S Windsor Safari
Prison Officers H A T O S Police Community Support officer