Thursday, December 07, 2006

PCSO's- should they be more distinct from police?

PCSO's are in the news for all the wrong reasons.

As per the link below, getting stabbed in the neck and now this, (courtesy PCSO blog for alerting me)

And then I go back and look again at those two Devon & Cornwall police articles in the previous post.

They take away 150 officers from the street. To meet government targets. As in they're going to go and stick them behind desks to massage statistics.

What the ?!@!#! I know I say don't believe the media but unfortunately I do believe that.

And they are to be replaced with 458 PCSO's.

Don't get me wrong on this. I have nothing against PCSO's. I just find the current situation ludicrous and frustrating. Home office demands have created a climate where PC's need to be taken off the streets in order to improve the force's detection rates, or whatever statistical measure that currently has priority attention.

This in the meantime creates a void on the streets, in which to fill, the government spends vast fortunes on PCSO's. PCSO's are designed to look like police in order to fill this "policing gap". But they don't get any of the training, equipment, or backup.

And so PCSO's, devoid of training, equipment, and most crucially of all, experience (even the longest serving PCSO can only have been on the street maybe 4 years now?) are sent out onto the street designed to fill the gap between police and public.

Which in my opinion shouldn't be there in the first place. Spend the money currently spent on PCSO's to recruit and train them as PC's, and they can do exactly the same important job but with better training, better resources, and better backup.

In the meantime, as the above is never going to happen, I reckon an effort should be made to change PCSO uniform to make it pretty clear they are not police. I don't think it's coincidence that the chap stabbed in the neck was the PCSO rather than the eviction officers. Make their uniform distinct- red or something. Not the psuedo-police it currently is. The media don't help in blurring the lines between police officers and community support officers. Check out the headline from

But make no mistake, I wish these two well. Unlike what I wish for for their attackers.

What do people think about their uniform? Should it be clearer they are not police officers? Or is the close association with police a good thing? Views from all sides of the fence please :-)