Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

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tonkertoy
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Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by tonkertoy » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:13 am

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Powerle ... story.html

'Powerless' PCSOs want more powers


POLICE community support officers in Plymouth should be handed more powers, unions have claimed, arguing they were often “powerless to act decisively because of randomly imposed restrictions”.

Unison, which represents some 8,000 police community support officers (PCSOs) nationwide, said they should have access to all existing powers and called for the distinction between standard and discretionary powers to be abolished.

In a survey of 2,700 PCSOs, the union found eight out of ten (81per cent) said they needed additional powers to do their jobs effectively. More than half (57 per cent) said their current powers were not enough.

It also found that the majority (80 per cent) agreed that their role should remain focused on community engagement and tackling low-level crime and antisocial behaviour.

Ben Priestley, Unison national officer for police staff, said: “PCSOs are the eyes and ears of their communities. They obtain invaluable intelligence for officers but often find themselves powerless to act decisively because of randomly imposed restrictions over their powers.

“The Government needs to give them the powers they need to get on with the job. PCSOs should be able to search people for drugs or stolen goods, disperse groups and issue fixed-penalty fines for parking offences.

“Currently, it’s up to chief constables whether or not PCSOs have access to this list of ‘discretionary powers’.

“We want all PCSOs to have access to all the powers so they can be a more effective and reassuring presence on the street.

“Proposals to improve dispersal powers and give PCSOs the power to issue parking fines are welcome but much more needs to be done if we want PCSOs to be fully operational.”

One Unison member said: “Not being able to act in certain situations such as parking obstructions outside schools or shoplifting can make PCSOs look powerless in the eyes of the on-looking public if they are unable to deal with even relatively simple situations.”

Another added: “ PCSOs provide a crucial link with local communities, targeting minor anti social behaviour offences which actually have a huge impact on communities and these are the low level incidents they see every day.

“Without PCSOs’ continued focus on these matters this link would be lost and as a result the trust and confidence the communities have in the police.”

The PCSO role was first created by former Home Secretary David Blunkett in 2002. They were quickly dubbed “plastic policemen” while critics said it was simply “policing on the cheap”.

In addition to the 20 “standard powers” of PCSOs, officer in Devon and Cornwall have 11 out of 21 “discretionary powers” including the right to detain people for 30 minutes and prevent them fleeing, and the power to disperse gangs of youths.

They can also issue fines for eight of 21 “designated” crimes including fireworks offences.

There are currently around 350 PCSOs in Devon and Cornwall and Police and Crime Commissioner has made no secret of his support for the role which is seen as crucial within overall neighbourhood policing.

However, some police officers remain deeply sceptical about PCSOs. One said: “No one is surprised that PCSOs want more powers, to make them appear indispensable, at a time when massive cuts to police budgets have put their jobs in jeopardy.”

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by ninjamonk » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:32 pm

How do you feel about this Tonkertoy ? I for one will welcome this change. However I doubt that this will ever happen as this would mean the Job evaluation have to be reviewed again also more responsibility would mean that PCSO's would want more money.

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by falkor » Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:46 pm

I think everyone knows that is highly unlikely to happen (PCSOs getting more money)

but having 43 police forces - each with different versions of what their PCSOs are empowered to do is verging on the ridiculous
“PCSOs are the eyes and ears of their communities. They obtain invaluable intelligence for officers but often find themselves powerless to act decisively because of randomly imposed restrictions over their powers.
randomly?

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by mj12cz » Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:46 am

The problem is with this old chestnut is give us more powers and we become what the police federation says we are. Cheap police.

However I can see what everyone is saying... I have no powers to deal with the issues the parish councils in my village want me to deal with, Parking as the force withdrew all out parking tickets and speeding as we have no powers to stop vehicles under section 34and report.

The other day I came across a car parked up on a sugar beat pad, it was full of youngsters and stank of cannabis. I shouted for a cop... Nothing they were all committed, traffic were the other side of the county... What could I do? Submit some intel and tell them to jog on? Perhaps give us better search powers under pace and the ability to issue street cautions? We still do need the power of arrest to do that, it's just a paperwork excercise.

This has a lot to do with the cuts, this government has butchered our police service, we have lost frontline officers and the numbers manning the response positions is dwindling.

It could be the conservatives give us the powers do do a bit more simply because there are less cops out there.
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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by tonkertoy » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:23 am

Having been a PCSO for over 10yrs now, I have never been so demoralised at work, our Force seems to be determined to kill off Neighbourhood Policing, the bosses can talk the talk but that's not helping, as previously said they have taken away our ability to ticket vehicles, we can no longer ticket for basic offences like unnecessary obstructions, the biggest issue we get sent to !!
Speeding is the number 1 priority the community have yet we cannot stop vehicles !!
Neighbourhood Policing is fast becoming a joke, I used to love the job, the only reason I'm sticking with it is because of the money !!
We have cut ASB dramatically, this is leaving us with little do when on duty, we need more to do, give me powers to Stop & Search and I could cut the number of Shopliftings in my Town, give me the power to stop Vehicles I could then deal with Seat belt, Speeding & mobile Phone Offences.
Oh and by the way I do not want to become a SWORN Officer, The Home Secretary just needs to beef up the PCSO role, make us more effective out on the streets.

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by mj12cz » Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:50 am

tonkertoy wrote:Having been a PCSO for over 10yrs now, I have never been so demoralised at work, our Force seems to be determined to kill off Neighbourhood Policing, the bosses can talk the talk but that's not helping, as previously said they have taken away our ability to ticket vehicles, we can no longer ticket for basic offences like unnecessary obstructions, the biggest issue we get sent to !!
Speeding is the number 1 priority the community have yet we cannot stop vehicles !!
Neighbourhood Policing is fast becoming a joke, I used to love the job, the only reason I'm sticking with it is because of the money !!
We have cut ASB dramatically, this is leaving us with little do when on duty, we need more to do, give me powers to Stop & Search and I could cut the number of Shopliftings in my Town, give me the power to stop Vehicles I could then deal with Seat belt, Speeding & mobile Phone Offences.
Oh and by the way I do not want to become a SWORN Officer, The Home Secretary just needs to beef up the PCSO role, make us more effective out on the streets.

Yep, it's exactly the same with us I could have written that myself. I'm on year 10 now and when I first started we were running around taking alcohol off groups of kids every night, we were setting up ops to deal with ASB.
I've not taken booze off any kids in 2 years... This is a combination of good police work and school talks.
We get sent to parking issues we cannot deal with and street drinkers (adults) who are aggressive and again we cannot deal with.
Our role needs to evolve, but not too much we become cheap cops.
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People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by tonkertoy » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:16 am

I think we will always be referred to Policing on the Cheap !!!
But the problem as I see it, the Regular SWORN Police Officers DO NOT want to deal with the low level Offences, ie; Shoplifting, low level Motoring Offences, ASB is like a "Dirty Word" to most Police Officers and they run a mile when they see ASB logs coming in on the CAD logs.
So why not convert all PCSO's into SWORN Officers, but we remain PCSO's that way we have the Powers and ability to deal with the issues out on the streets, just because you are a SWORN Officer does not mean you are going to arrest everyone you come across !!
After all I know dozens and dozens of SWORN Police Officers who have not made an Arrest in years !!!!

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by JimmyRiddle » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:31 am

I agree with the above. It's getting to the point where they're going to have to make our jobs more effective and justify them, or get rid.

End of the day, do they want us to do an actual job or aimlessly walk around town for years occasionally submitting a 5x5x5 which never gets actioned anyway?
Power of arrest for PCSOs for 'as and when' - s24a PACE & common law (i.e. BoP) using s3 CLA 1967

I'm a PCSO, I will WATCH you get your head kicked in (as per force policy)

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by ninjamonk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:00 pm

I do agree completely. We do need evolve if we are going to stay.D&C have been reviewing police staff this year to make more savings thankfully we are not part of that this year, however next year who Knows.

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by falkor » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:03 pm

Jimmy "aimlessly walk around town for years occasionally submitting a 5x5x5 which never gets actioned anyway" I don't know what has brought you to say that

PCSOs should not be "aimlessly walking around town for years occasionally submitting a 5x5x5" I can't believe this, sheesh

PCSOs should be talking to members of the public and the known villains, 5x5x5s should not be occasional, they should be daily, you saw a known suspect in the High St, he was wearing this - description, he was in company with John Smith address 5 Copocania Walk, they were seen to get into a Vauxhall Corsa Reg ABC123 surely this is a PCSO's duty, regular 5x5s on local villains stating who they're with, what vehicles they're using where they're going, what they're doing, you don't need a Sgt to tell you that, you should be doing it ANYWAY, PCSOs should submit intel REGULAR

"aimlessly walking around town for years occasionally submitting a 5x5x5" bloody hell, we have reached ground zero - I think I need a stiff drink

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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by PI & GI » Sat Feb 01, 2014 6:50 pm

Falcor, your last post is an anti pcso line managers dream, your obviously ingrained into the 2002 pcso manual lol
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Re: Powerless PCSO's want more Powers

Post by Lieutenant fatman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:40 pm

To be fair, it very much depends on the area you are policing, some areas have a lot more activity than others. And a lot has changed in the last few years. Safer Neighbourhoods have been very effective.

On a good day, getting three decent criminal intelligence reports is a piece of cake if you're in a busy area. But I have to echo what others say. The more you are seen out there, the more the trouble makers start to realise that there is a link between you seeing them and them getting arrested, searched, and so on and so forth, and the more likely they are to move on elsewhere. And so inevitably getting decent info becomes more difficult.

Although I'd suggest if people are feeling a bit bored, there are a few other areas or roles that are worth looking into depending on which force you're in. Might be worth switching things up a bit. There are busier wards, town centres, high streets, PCSOs on motorcycles dealing with traffic incidents and plenty of other stuff to look into.

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