2006 - 2007 news

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Driffield PCSOs on patrol

TWO new Police Comm-unity Support Officers have started working in the Driffield area to bring a friendly face and helping hand to residents who are affected by crime. After rigorous training Faye Chapman, 23, of Watton, and Laura Maggs, 22, of Kilham, have started working on the beat and have found their first days on the job very positive and welcoming.

Faye, who used to work for the DVLA, said the interview process included role plays, interviews, a written test and that the initial application was complicated too.

Training lasted seven weeks and included shadowing an officer and learning about the law and what they may and may not do as part of their job.

But Faye, who is originally from Leeds and moved with her family to Watton six years ago, reckons it will be worth it because her role is to help out in the community and to put a more human face on policing in the area.

"It's taken me a long time to think of what I wanted to do. At first I wanted to join the police but then I heard about this. "It is good to help the community and to get to know all the people around Driffield."

Faye is initially responsible for the Driffield town centre area and a couple of the surrounding villages which she will visit during the course of her duties in the next few weeks.

PCSOs do not have the power of police arrest, their role is more to communicate effectively with residents who want to speak to a real person rather than deal with police on the telephone. PICTURE: Laura Maggs and Faye Chapman The PCSOs will mainly be keeping in check any anti-social behaviour which occurs and responding to people's queries or to any problems which they want addressing.

Faye said she is looking forward to getting stuck into her new job and making a difference for the better.

"PCSOs have become really popular. We are working for the community and to make a difference. We are approachable and people can come and talk to us," she said.

Laura, who used to go to Driffield School, said she has always wanted to work for the police since she was small and was advised to get some life experience before applying.

She worked for Blakestons Solicitors in Driffield before applying for the Driffield Rural PCSO position which covers many of the surrounding villages such as North Frodingham, Burton Agnes, Kirkburn and Brandesburton.

Laura said she likes the fact that the job is unpredictable and she can find herself doing something different every day. "I like playing a part in the community and we never know what we are going to do each day. And I really enjoy meeting people," she explained. She said she has found the people she serves to be very friendly and that the work she does makes a difference to people. She said: "The people are lovely. The reaction has been really good and we have had a lot of positive reviews. "Lots of people know who we are and a lot of the problems which people were having have stopped. For example shops have benefitted and youths have generally stopped causing annoyance in the villages."

Laura and Faye are both based at Driffield Police Station on Wansford Road. Their basic working hours are 37 hours per week within the hours of 7am until 11pm with some week work.

PICTURE: Laura Maggs and Faye Chapman, the new Police Community Support Officers for Driffield and the surrounding villages.

13 March 2007                view more news              view the article

Lib Dems in extra police promise

a PCSO in Newport assists in the HIGH ST
Liberal Democrats have pledged to fund up to 500 extra police community support officers if they win power in the Welsh assembly elections. Eleanor Burnham told delegates in Swansea that funding would be made available over the next assembly term.

She called for power over the police and prisons to be transferred to the assembly, provided sufficient funding accompanied the move.

Ms Burnham was speaking to the Lib Dem Welsh spring conference in Swansea.

The north Wales assembly member described the aborted attempts to merge police forces as a demonstration that Wales was better able to decide what kind of policing it needed.

She told delegates that after all its tough talking Labour had failed on crime.

PCSO's training out in Cowbridge, South Wales
Highest proportion

She said: "Violent crime, for instance, has doubled in the last eight years. "More than three in every five prisoners are convicted of another crime within two years of release, the highest proportion since records began. "Less than one in every 100 crimes leads to a court conviction."

In a speech entitled "A Safer Wales", Eleanor Burnham promised more action to curb excessive drinking. Acceptable behaviour contracts, she said, had been pioneered by Liberal Democrat councils and would be promoted if the party was successful in Wales in May. Ms Burnham said the Conservative and Labour Parties had a history of competing with each other to talk tough on crime but both had failed. She said her party offered a new, honest and common sense approach.

Proportional representation is a key policy for Sir Menzies

On Saturday assembly Liberal Democrat leader Mike German told the conference they needed to target younger voters for the poll. Mr German said tactics would include campaigning for the vote for 16-year-olds and targeting big university constituencies. But with the turnout amongst younger voters notoriously low, he acknowledged it would be tough. Mr German also warned his party not to be distracted from their mission of creating a fairer, greener future for Wales, and said they still had a lot to gain before the May election.

Sunday, 11 March 2007                view more news             view the article              North wales pcso issued with Cuffs

Cambs Times
PCSO needed to work with travellers

05 March 2007

AN £18,500 police community support officer is to be appointed by Cambs Police to liaise with the county's estimated 6,000 gypsies and travellers.

The new post, which is being trialled for six months, is described in recruitment advertising as an "innovative thematic role"

The newly appointed recruit will revert to the county's regular team of 195 community support officers if the job is later abandoned.

"The constabulary recognises that within every community there are victims as well as offenders," says a job description for the new post.

"Every victim regardless of their ethnic origin or the community they are from deserves the same professional response from the police."

Police say that the new appointment will help foster better community relations and with the intelligence gained could ensure more crimes are detected and solved.

"Detecting crime and securing sanction detections is most likely when the community work with the Police to bring offenders to justice," said a police spokesman.

"In light of this we want to appoint a gypsy and traveller engagement officer, to develop and co-ordinate community networks between the gypsy and traveller community and the constabulary, to contribute towards raising awareness of policing needs and to eliminate discrimination, promoting good relations."

The post holder will need experience of "engaging with the gypsy and traveller community and an understanding of the culture and policing needs of the communities."

It's also necessary to have the "ability to develop positive working relationships and have previous customer service experience."

5 March 2007                view more news               view the article               view the thread

Police patrols for Blackpool schools

FOUR Blackpool high schools have drafted in police officers to tackle bullying and truancy. Bispham High, Beacon Hill High, Palatine High and Collegiate High have each put a police officer on their payrolls. The Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will patrol the corridors of the schools to help pupils and staff with any problems they might have. It comes just weeks after The Gazette revealed how Millfield High in Thornton took on PCSO Emma Greenwood to help tackle school truants.

Education bosses in Blackpool are putting forward £33,000 a year to fund the four officers, a sum matched by Lancashire Police. select for full storyPCSO Nigel Cason, who is based at Bispham High, said his remit extends much further than bullying and truancy, and is more concerned with helping students than enforcing the law. He said: "I am here to help the pupils at the school and the residents living around the school. "I want to be seen as someone the pupils can come to. "We can look at any problems they have and get to grips with them straight away. "I will be involved in truancy sweeps and dealing with bullying. "But most of the job is more about reassuring pupils and building bridges. "Outside the school they see the police only when we take alcohol off them or break up groups gathering on a weekend. "I hope we can change their views and make them see me as someone who is approachable and can help them with whatever they want to talk about."

John Topping, deputy headteacher at Bispham High School, said the police presence was not a result of any problems at the school. He said: "This isn't down to any specific problems at the school. What PCSO Cason will be doing will be working closely with pupils. "If there are bullying issues outside the school, pupils can go to him. He will also work with neighbours and businesses to build better relations." Another school where a PCSO will be based is Beacon Hill High School. There PCSO Ian Dickinson will be taking on the school beat. Headteacher Mike Wilmore explained one way he could help out. He said: "One example of how he can help is that we had some lads come in kicking a ball up in the air. "There was concern it could go in a garden or hit a car. "The PCSO can help us identify the children responsible and speak to them before there is a problem."

At Palatine High School it is PCSO Liza Riley who has taken up the school beat. Deputy headteacher Frank Shipway said: "This isn't about officers patrolling the school on the lookout for crime. That isn't going to happen. "We are committed to being a focal point of the community and having a PCSO based in the school is a big part of that. She will be available to assist pupils and members of the local community with any problems they might have." Paul Walker, Blackpool Council's director of culture, leisure and community, said: "Introducing a police presence into secondary schools is a relatively new initiative, but other authorities are starting to reap the benefits. "It's about having an authority figure that can engage with youngsters about issues of concern and community safety that are relevant to the pupils, the school and the wider community.

PCSOs have their own 'patch' in areas across the town, and schools would be an extension of this." Collegiate High – named in the bottom 200 of schools in the country for attendance last year – has employed PCSO Daniel Porter. Headteacher Gill Fennel said: "We are pleased to able to have him to support the school in our drive to raise attainment and achievement of pupils. We are continuously looking for ways to improve safety and security for pupils."

27 February 2007                view more news                view the topic               view the article

What is the difference between a warden and a PCSO?select for FULL STORY!


20 February 2007 08:44

Questions have been raised over the value of expanding the neighbourhood warden scheme to help tackle anti-social behaviour just as a new wave of police community support officers is about to pound the streets of Norwich.

The city council is about to send another four wardens out into troubled communities to combat yobs, after the previous administration took away their geographical role and had them tackling hot-spots as and when needed.

But with more than a hundred police community support officers (PCSOs) set to start work around the city, the expansion of the warden scheme has been called into question.

However, city leaders insist the wardens - which cost the city council more than £500,000 a year - perform a vital role in cracking down on anti-social behaviour which PCSOs cannot.

Police chiefs have also given the wardens a huge pat on the back, describing them as an invaluable aid in the battle to quell anti-social behaviour.

Norfolk Police Authority was today likely to agree to an inflation busting seven per cent rise in the authority's share of the council tax even though the Government has threatened to cap any organisation going over five per cent. Authority chairman Stephen Bett said he had no option but to levy the increase, which works out at an extra £10.92 a year for band D householders after the Government cut funding for PCSOs by £1 million.

The Home Office originally promised funding to provide 280 PCSOs in Norfolk. While funding is available for 189 in the east and central areas, where officers have already contributed to a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour, the Home Office has taken away the money to recruit a further 91 in the west of the county.

The question over the role of the wardens has been raised by Hereward Cooke, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Norwich City Council, who will tonight put forward a motion asking City Hall chief executive Laura McGillivray to draw up a report explaining how PCSOs and wardens will work together.

He said: “It is still possible the police authority will honour the Government's commitment and if that does happen we will have a substantial number of PCSOs around the city. They do valuable work, closely liaising with the police force and are much appreciated. But at the same time the city council is providing 24 community wardens across the city.
“It is important that the two types of law keeper should co-operate and work together for the benefit of Norwich citizens. They do have a different role in that the community wardens are more preventative.
“They get to know young people, care for the elderly, patrol the streets and report matters back. But I want to be sure we have a fully worked out strategy as to how the two similar aspects will work together.”

But council leader Steve Morphew said there was no doubt the wardens would fulfil a vital role and accused the Liberal Democrats of missing the point. He said: “Wardens are much more about prevention and getting into the community while the PCSOs are more about dealing with crime once it has occurred. The Liberal Democrats have never grasped that which is why they took them away from communities, watering down the real impact they could have had. The arrival of more PCSOs gives us a real opportunity to fulfil the potential of the wardens. The Safer Neighbourhood Strategy, which is being developed with the police, will help both PCSOs and wardens work together.

“The last thing we need is to worry about the secret agenda of the Liberal Democrats to do away with wardens.”

PCSO Cat Lang, who was out with the neighbourhood wardens when the Evening News contacted her, said: “They are a really valuable aid to us. A lot of people don't think they should bother police with what they think are minor issues so they contact the neighbourhood wardens. If the wardens feel they need to then they will contact us to see if we can help. They are in the community and act as our eyes and ears.
“They are also really useful when dealing with things like anti-social tenants because they know these people and they know the issues.”

Steve Burnham, chairman of the Mile Cross Community Association, said he felt both roles were important for a community and a worthwhile investment.
He said: “The community wardens in Mile Cross have built up strong links with the community - probably more than the PCSOs because they have got more time to actually mingle with the local people. Wardens have more local knowledge but it is important to have a balance of both.
“I think whatever they decide they need to keep both going because it's vital to every community and every community should have this support.”

The Evening News has been running our Reclaim Our Communities campaign, which calls on everybody to join forces to combat the problem of anti-social behaviour.

At tonight's meeting Mr Cooke will also call on fellow councillors to call on the Government to fulfil its 2005 election manifesto pledge to pay for the PCSOs and restore the recently announced £1m cut in the PCSO budget for Norfolk.

20 February 2007                view more news               view the article!                view the thread on this!

Plucky officers prove their worthselect to view article on this

12 February 2007

TWO brave officers hunted down two men who were believed to be shoplifters.

Chris Moore and Liam Young were on bike patrol on Wednesday last week at 2.25pm when a member of the public told them that two men had snatched clothes from Peacocks, in the High Road, Chadwell Heath.

She pointed in the direction of Back Lane, and the Whalebone ward Police Community Support Officers gave chase.

PCSO Moore, 24, said: "We split up to cover more ground, and then I saw both men in Heath Road, going over the footbridge.

"They dropped the clothes and ran on, but I dumped my bike and chased after them for about three minutes before catching one of them.

"I detained him until the police arrived - they also caught up with the other man who had disappeared in the direction of Selinas Lane."

For PCSOs, who are not armed and who do not have powers of arrest, running after potentially dangerous criminals has its risks.

PCSO Moore said: "It certainly goes through your head that they may be armed and you're not, but I suppose I was lucky, and the police arrived pretty much immediately."

Sgt Gary Baxter, who heads the Whalebone ward's Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), said: "Both Chris and Liam are excellent officers and this is an example of their dedication and commitment to the job.

"We have been aware of shoplifting in the ward and we have responded with increased patrols - this shows the tactic is definitely paying off."

All the stolen goods were returned to Peacocks, and the two suspects were later released on bail.
12 February 2006                view more news              view the thread

Police force faces cash shortage

Friday, 2 February 2007

Police chiefs said they had been "let down" by the government after not receiving enough cash for new officers. Humberside Police Authority said it had only been given funding to recruit two-thirds of the community support officers it needed over the next year. It said that instead of employing 332 extra officers, the Home Office had only given it the funding for 210.

Authority officials said they could have to make cuts elsewhere to find the cash for the other 122 officers. The cost of keeping the 122 extra officers on the streets for the next five years is estimated at £11.3m.

'Let us down'

Police authority chairman Graham Stroud said: "Although we feel that the government has let us down on this, we are examining every option open to us so that we can fund the programme out of our existing budget.

"This is not an easy task as we do not wish to do this at the expense of frontline performance.

"We have to be certain that even if we manage to find enough room in the current budget that we can carry this through in years to come. We certainly have the will to do this, now we just need to find the way."

A Home Office spokeswoman said the government had increased its funding for police officers and community support officers by 45% for the next financial year.

She said that meant across the country there would be an extra 16,000 community support officers.

She said: "We do not expect forces to increase that number although they can if they wish to do so."

Police authority leaders said they would continue discussions with the Home Office.

A final budget, including how much it will require from council tax, will have to be agreed on 13 February.

Friday, 2 February 2007                view more news            view the article               view the thread on this

Police funding crisis 'will put public at risk'

Forces say they will have to axe hundreds of officers if Treasury cuts spending
Jamie Doward, home affairs editor
Sunday January 14, 2007
The Observer

Britain's police forces are on the brink of financial crisis, raising fears that key areas of policing will be cut back. At an emergency meeting this week, representatives from the 43 forces of England and Wales will warn that the looming cash shortage will put the public at greater risk. This predicted crisis is largely due to a Treasury commitment to curb spending between 2008 and 2011, at a time when there has been a sharp rise in police numbers. As a result, the Home Office is receiving an increase of only 2.7 per cent a year - level with inflation

The Police Federation, which campaigns on behalf of Britain's 145,000 police officers, claims 999 calls will take longer to answer and that the number of fully trained officers will be reduced. The Hampshire force is looking to make a 10 per cent cut in services next financial year, according to its local federation. If there is no significant increase in funding, its police authority predicts it will have to make a cut of 20 per cent the following year. Durham Constabulary is to axe 100 police officer jobs in the next financial year as the force plans cuts of £3m, replacing them with an extra 70 police community support officers. Surrey has described its budget for 2007/08 as 'insufficient' and is looking to replace officers with more support staff. Sussex predicts it will have a budget deficit of £6m and will have to make cutbacks.

North Yorkshire police consider the situation so dire that the police authority predicts even a 5 per cent increase in funding will still leave it with a £3m deficit next year. West Mercia predicts a £1m gap in funding, with further, more acute, financial concerns to come over the next three years.

14 January 2007      view the topic on this      view more news      funding withdrawal      Top cop speaks out over funding cut


view the article                        view the topic on this
09:45 - 06 January 2007
Humberside's police chief has criticised the Government for cutting the number of community support officers.

As previously reported in the Scunthorpe Telegraph, Humberside Police Authority chairman Graham Stroud and Chief Constable Tim Hollis appealed to the Home Office, following a decision to cut funding for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).But their pleas have fallen on deaf ears and the cuts, announced in November, mean instead of funding 332 PCSOs by March 2008, the Home Office will only pay for 210.

Chief Constable Tim Hollis said: "I am very disappointed by the decision to cut the funding. I always think of myself as a man of my word and it frustrates me when someone goes back on theirs.

"We budgeted for this funding and now our plans will have to change as we will not get it. This I have to accept and get on with the job, but it doesn't make it any easier.

"The decision has been made nationally and I don't think the implications for Humberside have been considered. The Home Office has been quick to criticise us before and we often do poorly in league tables, yet when we have the opportunity to make good something they take it away."

He said PCSOs had received a lot of support from the community and added: "I am genuinely disappointed and feel particularly let down."

Coun Stroud said: "The decision to withdraw promised funding is a severe blow to our financial plans in respect of neighbourhood policing.

"It is particularly disappointing the Government, which pledged so much to policing and continues to place neighbourhood policing as one of its top priorities, has now reneged on its own promises.

"We still believe neighbourhood policing is the way forward, but the promised funding will not be available.

"I feel the Government's stated commitment to policing is now called into question and this decision appears to prove it."

North Lincolnshire Council Humberside Police Authority representative, Glen Phillips, also spoke of his disappointment.

He said: "PCSOs make a vital contribution to policing and to have this funding withdrawn is terrible.

"The public tend to trust them more as they generally come from the area which leads to better intelligence and a better ability to fight crime.

"It is truly disappointing."

view the article                        view the topic on this


Police reception officers could face unemployment

Civilian staff employed by the Met Police are facing an uncertain New Year after a leaked email revealed they could be out of work by April.
The Met is proposing to reconsider the role of station reception officers (SROs) and replace them on the front desk with Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Staff at Chiswick police station in the High Road are unhappy and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have released a statement blasting the Met for "taking the eyes and ears off the street in their agenda to police London as cheaply as they can".

One SRO at Chiswick who wanted to remain anonymous said: "It's scandalous to leave us guessing about our jobs, especially at this time of year.
"We are either expected to do a harder job for the same money or move aside."

However, Superintendent Clive Chalk of Hounslow police insists the concept is at a very early stage.

He said: "The Met is exploring the role of the SRO and looking to expand what they do. It gives them the chance work in other areas."

He also emphasised that the PCSOs working in front offices will be well trained.

Reception officers are the first people that members of the public see when they enter a police station.

They also gather evidence which could be presented in court and are trained in dealing with vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime.

Their role mirrors that of police officers but they cannot make arrests.

The proposals would see SROs replaced by PCSOs, whose main purpose currently is to patrol the community and provide a reassuring presence and back up for police officers.

The decision was taken after the Greater London Authority agreed to give the Met 4,000 PCSOs to patrol the streets of London.

Paul Edwards, PCSO local representative, said: "We fear our jobs going will result in a real reduction in the face to face service local people get from the police.

"Coupled with this are plans to reduce every borough's 24-hour police stations which means that people in London are paying more but getting less policing for their money."

Sunday 31st December 2006                view more news             view the topic             view the article

Police limit new powers for PCSOs

By James Glover, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:36am GMT 24/12/2006

Plans to give police community support officers (PCSOs) extra powers have been scaled back after senior officers voiced concerns.

As part of its efforts to reduce street crime, the Home Office had suggested handing PCSOs an additional 39 powers, including the right to search suspects for weapons, seize drugs and confiscate alcohol and tobacco.

In August last year, Charles Clarke, then home secretary, asked police forces in England and Wales, police authorities and unions for their responses to the proposals. Embarrassingly for Mr Clarke's successor, John Reid, many of those consulted informed ministers that they did not believe that PCSOs required a raft of extra powers. The Association of Police Authorities said it was concerned that some of the proposed powers were not appropriate to be given to all PCSOs.

One senior police officer told The Sunday Telegraph: "PCSOs need the power to detain but not much more. The public love them and they are seen as the friendly face of policing. We don't want to give them too many extra powers which will create a second tier of policing. Police officers should be enforcing the law and PCSOs should be helping with community issues and minor disputes."

As a result of the unenthusiastic response, Mr Reid has decided to reduce the proposed list of additional powers for PCSOs. A spokesman for the Home Office said a revised set of proposals was expected to be sent out for consideration early next year.

The first PCSOs began patrolling in 2002. Nicknamed "Blunkett's bobbies" after David Blunkett, who introduced them when home secretary, the PCSOs drew criticism from many rank and file officers who claimed that they were a gimmick.

PCSOs receive only three weeks' training before being sent out on duty and very few are able to make arrests or are even equipped with handcuffs. There are currently 7,000 in service.

24 December 2006              view more news              view the topic here              view the proposed new powers

Cuts in police community support officers blasted
By Rob Devey
THE number of Police Community Support Officers planned for Bolton is being slashed following a reduction in Government funding.
It had been hoped the town would have 90 PCSOs by April, 2008 - 39 more than at present. But the total number has now been reduced to 70.
The cuts have sparked angry criticism from Greater Manchester Police chiefs.
Chief Supt Dave Lea, head of Bolton police, said: "The simple and stark fact is that we're now not going to be able to have the numbers of visible uniformed patrolling officers we had planned."
The Government has decided to cut funding for PCSOs nationally from £340 million to £235 million.
Money remains in place to recruit 16,000 more across the country by April, 2007, but funding for a further 8,000 over 2007/08 has been lost.
The 974 PCSOs Greater Manchester Police had planned to recruit by April, 2008, is likely to be slashed by about a third.
Government policing minister Tony McNulty said he and Home Secretary John Reid had accepted police advice that 24,000 PCSOs were not needed.
But Cllr Cox said: "What the police asked for was flexibility to use the money for PCSOs to recruit more regular officers or more office staff to put existing officers back on the beat.
"The Government has reduced the number of PCSOs but we are not getting the money back."
Cllr Cox said the force was losing 201 police officers during 2006/07, with seven of them in Bolton.
He added. "We wanted to retain officers at their current levels and add PCSOs to the mix."
Chief Supt Lea, said: "This is a real disappointment because we had planned our deployment and delivery of safer neighbourhood policing based upon what we were told by the Government.
"The numbers of visible uniformed patrolling officers are just not going to be there because I can't find that money from any other source.
"We are going to have to get our thinking caps on because we've made committments to the public of Bolton."
Bolton currently has 51 PCSOs. They do not have the power of arrest but can detain a suspect for 30 minutes and have limited powers to tackle problems such as anti-social behaviour.
11:19am Tuesday 26th December 2006

select to read more Federation: “CSOs are a ridiculous experiment”
DECEMBER 2006 issue of 'Police'

Government cut CSO targets for recruitment

The government is cutting recruitment targets for CSOs by a third before neighbourhood teams are in place next year.

Tony McNulty, police minister, announced that forces do not ‘necessarily need’ 24,000 community support officers and funding would only be available for 16,000 officers.

But the announcement on specific grant settlements comes at the same time the government is considering giving chief officers flexibility on how they spend the crime fighting fund, currently ring-fenced for recruiting police officers. This would allow forces to spend the funding on community support officers or police staff.

Mr McNulty told Parliament: “We are making these changes in response to requests from the police service itself for greater flexibilities and freedoms in order to decide locally the best way of delivering visible, responsive, and accessible policing.”

However, Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation, has expressed concerns about the flexibility given to chief officers on the crime fighting fund. Evidence from some local federations has shown the numbers of officers are being reduced while numbers of CSOs are increased.

Paul Kelly, chairman of Manchester Police Federation, told Police magazine that he believed the introduction of neighbourhood policing with the CSO as its ‘bedrock’ has failed. He said: “The experiment failed and failed miserably – no disrespect to the fine men and women who become CSOs – it is not their fault.” But he added: “You cannot send a soldier out to fight a battle unarmed and untrained – be clear, we are in a war [against criminals].

Why do we allow this government to continue wasting our tax pounds on this ridiculous experiment?”

DEC issue of Police Magazine                view more news             view topic on this

select to view full articleGovernment slammed by MP
By Steve Sowden

YEOVIL MP David Laws has criticised the Government's decision to cut funding for Police Community Support Officers which will result in a reduction of 195 in the Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

Mr Laws has written to the Home Secretary, John Reid, calling on him to restore the original plans for extra PCSOs.

David Laws said: "Further to the Government's announcement that they were withdrawing funding for plans to increase the numbers of PCSOs nationwide, it has been confirmed that this will mean a reduction of 195 in Avon and Somerset Constabulary.

"This is very disappointing news for the police as it will mean less officers on the beat.

"Our police force has found PCSOs the ideal compliment to regular officers in delivering services in the community and a reduction will leave a gaping hole in the constabulary's plans.

"I have written to the Home Secretary, John Reid, asking him to reconsider his position in light of the relative under-funding of Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the important role PCSOs play in our area."

15th December 2006                view more news              view the topic on this

select for full story Helmet cameras go live to catch criminals in action

Police will be patrolling the streets with a new weapon in the fight against crime this Christmas – miniature cameras attached to their helmets.

From today, the tiny devices will allow officers to record crimes as they happen as well as confront offenders with evidence of their antisocial behaviour.
A team of police officers, patrolling the streets of North Sunderland has become the first in the area to go live with the cameras, which can record up to 400 hours of footage.
This can be presented to a court as evidence.

If successful, the camera equipment – known as the Cyclon body-worn surveillance system – could become standard issue for police and police community support officers across Wearside.
Sergeant Craig Gardener, of Sunderland North Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: "They prove a vital tool in the collection and gathering of evidence."
"They also demonstrate that where disorder and crimes are taking place, it can be recorded and, if necessary, followed through to prosecution."

Evidence already suggests that use of the cameras in other parts of the country has led to a significant change in the way groups of yobs address and deal with the police.
Each device weighs about 25oz and can produce high quality digital stills, as well as recording conversations.

The camera is attached to existing police helmets and is worn level with the eyes. As the officer turns his or her head it records everything they are seeing. The film can be downloaded on to a computer or DVD for use in court.

Inspector Alan Patterson, who is responsible for community policing in North Sunderland, said: "We find there is a marked change in the way certain people behave when a video camera is turned on.
"It seems to make them sit up and think a little bit more about their actions and what they are saying.
"It's particularly useful in dealing with issues of antisocial behaviour and will also be of assistance in helping cover areas of the city where there is no CCTV."

Use of the cameras has been met with a favourable reception.

Kathryn Morgan, 34, a mum-of-two from Southwick, Sunderland, said: "If people aren't doing anything wrong then they should have nothing to worry about.
"I don't see the difference between this and having those CCTV cameras watching all the time."

Eight of the cameras have now been purchased at a cost of about £14,000. The money has come from Sunderland City Council's Strategic Initiatives Budget.

Coun Leslie Mann, chairman of the North Area Committee whig agreed to fund the project, said:
"This will increase feelings of safety across the community and serve to reassure residents that we are doing everything in our power to make our neighbourhoods a safer place to live."

13 December 2006              view more news              view topic on this

select to view full articleWanted:
Sheriff for Shepherds Bush

By Ian Morgan

A team of 27 hand-picked beat officers is to be put on the streets of Shepherds Bush to drive the yobs, thieves and muggers out of town, and Hammersmith & Fulham Council is looking for a sheriff to lead them.

"Lawlessness in Hammersmith & Fulham is local resident's biggest concern," says Councillor Greg Smith, cabinet member for crime & anti-social behaviour.

"Residents want protection and they want it round the clock. We will be the first council in the UK to put local patrols on the streets, day and night, every day of the year.

"These patrols will also be reporting enviro-crimes like fly-tipping and graffiti which will really help the council clean up our town."

Hammersmith & Fulham Council is pumping in £1.5 million over two years to pay for the patrols in Shepherds Bush.

The scheme goes live in April 2007.

If they are a success there, the council plans to move sheriffs into other parts of town too. Each sheriff will have a 5 sergeants, 10 police constables and 15 police community support officers and will be competing with other sheriffs for the lowest crime figures.

Acting Borough Commander David Page, who has been given the job of making the scheme work on the ground, says, "I am relishing this unique opportunity to trial 24/7 community based policing. I am looking forward to turning the vision of round the clock beat policing into a reality."

Met Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin says, "The council came to us with this idea and we were happy to discuss it with them. A strong partnership arrangement is needed to deliver this pilot project and we are confident that the results will be impressive."

The ground breaking scheme is expected to be closely watched by other authorities as well as Whitehall.

15th December 2006                view more news              view the topic on this

Home Secretary probed over funding cuts for neighbourhood policing

Ask the Home Secretary, he knows bestA LABOUR MP has grilled the Home Secretary over the Government’s decision to cut funding for police community support officers.

The Home Office is reducing Kent’s budget for PCSOs by £3.5million.

The Kent Police Authority, which slammed the decision, had budgeted for an extra 474 support officers by April 2008 but can now only afford 273.

The MP for Dover and Deal, Gwyn Prosser, questioned John Reid at the Home Affairs Select Committee meeting this week.

Mr Prosser asked him: “Are you aware how shocked and disappointed Kent Police is to find the Home Office has severely cut its funding for the recruitment of PCSOs and what do you say to the Chief Constable of Kent who says that he will not now be able to properly implement his neighbourhood policing plans across the county?”

In response, the Home Secretary said the police service had informed his department that constabularies could now meet their targets and roll out neighbourhood policing with a lesser number of PCSOs.

Mr Reid told him that excellent progress had been made nationally with fewer support officers than expected.

He said the decision was taken after the police service pressed for greater flexibility in its funding.

The Home Office said last week that Kent Police was to receive an extra £2m next year in its overall budget.

POSTED: 13/12/2006 10:06:43                     view article                view topic


900 police stations closed since 1992

Press Association Tuesday December 12, 2006

Guardian Unlimited

Almost 900 police stations in England and Wales have closed in the past 14 years, the government said today.
The vast majority of those still in use are open to the public for only limited hours, with most closing at night.

The closures figure could be even higher because some forces, including the Metropolitan and West Midlands police, have only provided numbers in recent years.

However, 376 police stations have opened since 1992, meaning the net loss in March this year was 504. "Since 1992, 880 police stations have closed and 376 have opened," a Home Office spokeswoman said.

"It is not entirely odd, given that the emphasis is on getting officers on the streets rather than keeping stations open that aren't fulfilling as useful a purpose as they were.

"It is a matter for police authorities whether to keep a police station open or not. Things they take into account are whether a police station has deteriorated and whether a location isn't as useful as it used to be. They don't do it without taking a public survey first."

In the early hours of Saturday morning, businessman Stephen Langford died after being attacked by a gang of youths near a police station in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.

The station was closed to the public at the time, but officers ran out of it when a member of the public alerted them to the assault. However, they were too late to catch the attackers.

Of the 880 closures, a total of 516 were under Labour and 364 under John Major's Conservative government, while of the 376 police stations that have opened since 1992, 298 opened under Labour and 78 under the Conservatives.

In March this year, there were 1,758 police stations in England and Wales.

"Increasing public awareness that police stations are often not open after dark comes on top of government cuts to the promised number of police community support officers and withdrawal of Home Office funding for the single non-emergency number," the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Nick Clegg, told the Daily Telegraph.

"These cutbacks hamper the ability of the police to be as accessible to the public as they need to be to deliver effective, visible policing."
the old New Malden Police Station - now closed after closing New Malden Police Station a couple of years back a shop front (police office) opened just down the road from the old station for an impressive 5 hours a day instead (1230 - 1730)

12 December 2006              view more news              view the topic on this

Retiring inspector back on beat

Tom Edwards will head back to the classroom to become a CSO select for full story

A police inspector who is retiring after 30 years' service is going straight back on the beat.

Tom Edwards, 59, who has worked in CID, the vice squad and Special Branch, is becoming a community support officer (CSO) in Llanelli.

He said he was looking forward to more day-to-day contact with the public after his recent years in an office.

CSOs do not have the same powers of arrest as regular police officers and their role has been questioned but Mr Edwards said he believed they were becoming an important part of policing.

"The face of policing is changing nationally and I think it's more the CSOs that will provide that presence on the street which will leave police officers, who are higher trained, to deal with the more serious issues," he said.

"CSOs are an addition not a substitute for police officers - we have not got the wide range of powers available to police officers but I have no doubt in my own mind the way things are developing they will have a lot more powers.

"I'm pretty confident that I know most of the problems that blight local communities.

"Very often it's not your serious crime - people are often very much more concerned with local problems such as yobbish behaviour and anti-social behaviour.

"When I joined there was not a policeman in every village - the so-called bobby on the beat - but certainly a lot more than there is now.

"That's what the public want to see - they want to see a more visible presence on the street.

"That's what very much appeals to me - you are back on the streets dealing with the public, where as recently in my police role I've been more or less tied to the office in a managerial role.

"It's like any other profession - the higher up the ladder you go the more remote I suppose you become from the real work - in terms of policing the point of contact with the public."

Mr Edwards ends his career as an inspector next week and will join the neighbourhood police team in Llwynhendy straight away.

Knowledge and experience

"I'm not aware of anyone else who has done their time with the police and then become a support officer and I think probably a lot of my colleagues must think I'm mad taking on the role," he added.

"I'm loath to say I'm 60 next month and people may say it's time to put your feet up, but I've always kept myself fairly fit. I think I have a strong presence about me and will be able to make a difference.

"The ironic thing in a way is after 30 years in the police service with the knowledge and experience I've gained in that time I will be back in the classroom.

"I'm not naive enough to think I won't be able to learn and pick up a lot of things from my younger colleagues who are probably less than half my age.

"Equally, I'm sure they'll be able to bounce things off myself in terms of how to do the job."

12 October 2006                view more news           view the topic on this

Funds slashed for support officers
By Louise Acford

The Government has withdrawn nearly £2 million of funding for Sussex county's police community support officer scheme.

Sussex Police Authority has been forced to reduce the number of PCSOs it was planning to recruit across Sussex this year.

By the end of this year, they had planned to bring the number of officers in the county to 525 but this figure has now been reduced to 270.

The authority has responded with "frustration" at the news and said it is unlikely the £1.8 million reduction in the Home Office grant will be diverted elsewhere within the force.

Authority chairman Peter Jones said they would struggle financially from 2008 onwards because of a lack of funding and would have to make "significant changes to how the Force is run".

He said: "If, as we expect, existing funding levels are cut in the medium term, it will be a struggle to meet cost increases essential to maintain current services let alone invest in other crucial areas such as major crime, road policing and counter terrorism, which we are charged by Government to develop following the collapse of its ill-fated force-merger proposals.

"People have indicated to us they would be prepared to pay more council tax for their policing but we really don't want to do that.

"We have delivered savings worth nearly £20 million this year alone.

"It is high time Sussex's position as a poor relation in policing terms was addressed by Government and the £6 million plus gap between us and the average shire force closed."

A spokesman for the authority said it was too soon to say where efficiency savings and cost cutting might be made.

Community support officers were introduced in 2002 to provide extra police presence on the streets.

Earlier this year, The Argus revealed they were being placed in schools in a bid to improve safety.

Brian Stockham, chairman of Sussex Police Federation, said the PCSOs provided a valuable but "limited" service.

11 December 2006                view more news              view the topic on this

select for full story Cops play trump card to woo kids

POLICE have created a Top Trumps-style card game to encourage young people to talk to officers.
They have produced a set of swop cards for children to collect that feature officers working in the north of Portsmouth.

There are 30 cards in the series, each with an officer's details on them, including information about how long they've been in the force for, a top safety tip and what they enjoy most about their job.
Like football stickers, youngsters are being encouraged to collect them until they have the whole set.

They can do that by approaching police officers when they see them out and about or when they visit their schools.
If they find they've got two cards the same they can swop with their friends.

The cards feature police community support officers, school liaison officers, PCs and sergeants – with Cosham's Inspector Paul Bartolomeo as the ultimate gold card.
The first youngster to collect the full set will win a prize.

There will also be a prize for the first person to collect each Cosham's Safer Neighbourhood Teams covering Paulsgrove, Cosham and Drayton and Farlington.

Portsmouth police boss Chief Superintendent John Campbell said: 'We are always looking for new ways to encourage residents to get to know their local officers.
'We felt it was a good idea to start with the youngest members of our community.
'They'll only be able to get these cards by talking to officers or by swopping them.'

He added: 'We hope it will encourage interaction between officers and children.'

Insp Bartolomeo said: 'All of the neighbourhood teams at Cosham are looking forward to getting stopped by children and being asked for their cards.
'I hope that it will lead to officers and Police Community Support Officers being known by children in the local area.
'I also hope that it will lead to positive relationships being built between officers and youngsters.'

If the cards prove a success they could be created for police officers in neighbourhood beats across the city.

Howard Payne, headteacher at Medina Primary School, Cosham, said: 'The children do really like collecting these cards. It gives the children something to talk to police about, and they will get to know the police.
'You have to get involved in these things, and I've even been asked to swap some of my cards, too.'
07 December 2006                view more news            view the topic on this

Published: December 5, 2006

select for full storyThree new PCSOs join Burnham-On-Sea Police

Three new Police Community Support Officers have started work in Burnham-On-Sea this week as part of an ongoing crackdown on local crime.

A total of 11 PCSOs are now patrolling the Burnham and Cheddar police sector, with five newcomers having joined during the past four months.

The latest additions, pictured, are Sarah Jane England (covering Burnham town centre), Elliott Green (Brean) and Sam Haydon (Highbridge).

A Burnham police spokesman said the latest recruits mean there has been a 50 per cent increase in uniformed staff at the town station during the last three years.

5 Dec 2006                view more news

select for full story Wife praises stabbed 'cop'

December 06, 2006


A POLICE worker fighting for life after being stabbed in the neck joined the force “to do something worthwhile”, his wife said yesterday.
Andie Etchells told how husband Gary quit his theatre boss job to become a police community support officer.

Brave Gary, 47, who had no power to arrest, was knifed while helping evict a former karate teacher from his rented home.
The dad-of-four had emergency surgery and was said to be critical but improving last night.
Andie, 45, said: “He’s a caring, generous and genuine man. If you don’t like Gary, then there’s something wrong with you.

“Gary decided to become a PCSO because he wanted to do something more worthwhile.
“He is one of those guys who will never tell you about all his achievements even though he does such a fantastic job.”
The support officer — whose normal duties include dealing with litter — was helping three bailiffs and five housing association officials with an eviction for non payment of rent in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, on Monday.

The tenant is regarded locally as an eccentric and a loner.
He had earlier warned police: “My home is my castle, the law will back me up.”

Gary, of Glossop, Derbys, had a kitchen knife waved in his face. The £16,000-a-year officer urged the tenant to drop the weapon but it was plunged into his neck.

The attacker then threw hot water over the officials as they gave first aid.

Questions are now being asked about why a non-regular police officer who was not wearing body armour was sent to the incident.

Greater Manchester Police insisted regular cops were sent but Gary got there first and the eviction bid went ahead before they arrived.

Ex-gas fitter Albert Williams, 63, was still being quizzed last night.

6 Dec 2006                view more news              VIew our LETTER to Gary               View the TOPIC on this


the above 615k word.doc has been put together by kipper to optimise the quality of a print off from this topic

Akita is very kindly going to play postie and get our letter to Gary

and thank you again to all members gold angel who contributed on this thread


select for full storyWe have driven out the boyracers

PCSO Angela Ellis has received letters of thanks after helping to rein in boy racers congregating in a car park.


01 December 2006 08:56

Families living near a city car park which has been a meeting place for boy racers have hailed a police crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) Angela Ellis and Paul Scarborough have received letters of thanks from people on Britannia Road, Norwich, after they spearheaded a six-month campaign to drive problems away from the car park near Mousehold Heath.

Since the summer, the no nonsense approach from police has involved:

The clampdown came after families in the area had become sick of young drivers racing down the street in their souped up cars and using the car park as a base to congregate, causing noise and nuisance most nights.

But PCSOs Ellis and Scarborough have carried out regular patrols and other initiatives in the area since the summer - when more than 90 people called police to complain about noise and dangerous driving - which has helped dramatically reduce the number of drivers meeting in the area.

PCSO Ellis said: “Sometimes there were up to 30 vehicles in the car park area and the problems seemed particularly bad on a Friday and Saturday.

“It was impacting on the quality of life of people living in the area and the noise from car engines and car stereos reverberating along Britannia Road was a real issue.

“I have regularly updated people on our progress and given them advice about things they can do to resolve issues and they seem generally happy with what we have achieved.

“I've even had a couple of thank you letters. I still regularly patrol the area and the last time I was there, there were only four or five vehicles.”

Police worked with people in the area, the road policing unit based at Wymondham, noise enforcement and legal officers at Norwich City Council and officers from the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency to tackle the problems.

Norwich City Council also plans to resurface the car park and install bollards, ensuring that there is a designated entry and exit point to the area, in an attempt to make drivers slow down and drive more carefully in the car park.

The Evening News' Reclaim Our Communities campaign aims to stamp out anti-social behaviour across the city. To find out about the campaign and see our video report, log on to

Are you being plagued by boy racers? Or do you have another side of the story to tell? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772439 or e-mail

Policing promise 'broken by Labour'

THE Government was yesterday accused of ditching a manifesto promise, after it announced its target of 24,000 police community support officers (PCSOs) in England and Wales was being scaled down to 16,000. Policing Minister Tony McNulty said he and Home Secretary John Reid had accepted police advice that 24,000 PCSOs were not needed. But Liberal Democrat spokesman Nick Clegg said the reduced target made "a mockery" of Government "hype" about providing the reassurance of a uniformed presence in the community.

Since their introduction in the Police Reform Act 2002, numbers of uniformed PCSOs have swelled to 7,000 in England and Wales. They patrol streets on foot in many neighbourhoods, but do not have the lengthy training or powers of arrest of a full police officer. Labour's 2005 General Election manifesto promised a £340m-a-year fund would take their numbers up to 24,000.

But in a written statement to Parliament, Mr McNulty said: "The Home Secretary and I accept the argument put forward by the Police Service itself that the delivery of neighbourhood policing does not need 24,000 PCSOs. "This settlement therefore provides continuing support towards 16,000 PCSOs in 2007-8 and we will not expect forces to increase the number of PCSOs beyond that number." He was announcing a proposed 41 per cent increase to £315m in grant allocation to police authorities in 2007-08.

But Mr Clegg said: "This is a straightforward breach of a Government manifesto commitment to roll out full neighbourhood policing teams across the country.."

28 November 2006           view more news           view the full article           GO TO THE TOPIC ON THIS

please select for FULL STORY More PCSOs
in six months

24 November 2006

PUBLIC transport in Havering is to get 18 more Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) to crackdown on anti-social behaviour in six months time.

The focus will be on the yob culture around railway stations and on buses, dubbed 'mobile youth clubs'.

Romford Station was recently named as being among the capital's top 20 most dangerous stations.

And three Havering bus routes, the 174, 86 and 247, recorded some of London's highest 'Code Red' incidents, including knife attacks on drivers, threats of violence and vandalism.

Operator, Stagecoach, considered withdrawing the 247 because of the problems.

Welcoming the news of extra PCSOs, Chief Inspector for Safer Neighbourhoods, Bill Doig, said: "It is recognised that crime and anti-social behaviour on transport links in Havering is a problem and a nuisance.

"There is a bad reputation that we have to get rid of, allowing the public to feel safer."

A Transport for London spokesman said: "Havering's new Safer Transport Team, made up of 17-18 PCSOs, is expected to be deployed next April."

Read more in this week's Recorder - out now.

Police are branded scrooges over cuts to PCSOs’ wages

A COUNCILLOR has branded Cheshire Police "Scrooges" after they decided to cut their community support officers’ salaries by up to £2,000 a year at a time when they are desperate for new recruits. The decision to drop PCSO salaries down from scale five (£18,507 - £20,214) to scale four (£16,203 – £17,967) was taken by an evaluation panel made up of specially trained police staff and officers earlier this month.

Now Poynton Parish Councillor Lawrence Clarke fears that the move, taken at the height of a drive for new PCSOs, will discourage recruits and make it hard to keep hold of existing officers.

PCSOs have the small comfort of knowing that their pay will be ring-fenced at current levels for the next four years and that their union UNISON will lodge an appeal this January.

He said: "In Poynton, we have two PCSOs part funded by the council and another two to come.

"I would be interested to see if these savings were passed onto us.

"I am surprised by this news. PCSOs have been a success in Poynton and I think this will cause problems with retention and recruitment of staff. The timing isn’t great either – it seems Cheshire Police are being quite Scrooge-like."

Chris Dilworth, Head of Resourcing for Cheshire Police, said PCSOs were given the scale five pay in 2003 partly because they had the power to detain with reasonable force.

He said that power had never been taken up in the county and would now not be.

For principally that reason, the panel decided the PCSOs should drop a scale – although if they were given more powers, their salary would be re-evaluated.

He added: "We have had no resignations as yet and hopefully we won’t have.

"Our PCSOs are the best paid in the North West and their salaries are still competitive and comparable with other forces."

23 Nov 2006           view more news           view the topic on this!           view news article on this



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