The introduction of the Police Community Support Officer (PCSO also refered to CSO) was in many ways, a reasonable idea at its inception. However, not many police forces are actually using them for what they were intended i.e. support for the police working for and within the community.
It has been said that they often create additional work, as opposed to reducing the workload of police officers. There have also been numerous occasions of a PCSO being an embarrassment for their force, due to some misuse of power or other faux par. Unfortunately they’re not alone, even some proper police officers have been guilty of the latter.
Whilst Chief Constables appear prepared to compromise the safety of police officers; by instructing them to patrol/respond alone (often without an adequate risk assessment and usually for simple financial reasons), it would appear PCSO’s usually need their friends… 🙂
In many areas the PCSO is the only uniform presence you will ever see on your streets and if ACPO and politicians have anything to do with it, you better get used to it. This is despite the public outcry for more accessible, warranted, fully trained and competent police officers.
Although there are some excellent people doing the PCSO job, I don’t believe that in the long term, they actually provide what the public want. They are a means of decieving the public that there is ‘a visible police presence to deter crime’. This is the reason why every time you read a newspaper article about ‘Community Policing’ or your ‘Safer Neighbourhood Teams’, it will nearly always have a PCSO depicted. It’s Police PR department hype to get you to think a PCSO is in fact the same as a Police Officer… Unfortunately it appears to be working in some areas. Especially those where Chief Constables have been sneaky enough to ensure their PCSO is dressed as similar as possible to their police officers.
Feral gangs of anti social youth, who the PCSO was invented for combating, simply laugh at and in the face of their limited authority. The fact their actual powers differ from force to force, at the whim of the Chief Constable, doesn’t help the situation.
The following clip is a SPOOF DOCUMENTARY about a day as a PCSO in Manchester by Patrick Gallagher & Greg Cook. Apparently this is a proposal for a comedy drama set in the Northern town of Fieldmoor, which follows the chaotic lives, loves, and working relationships of a team of Police Community Support Officers.
There is no wonder the public have become more and more confused about who the police are, what their role is and what authority they actually have. In addition, it is hardly surprising the PCSO has become the subject of ridicule in many parts of our society. The sole fault for this lays at the feet of politicians and senior police officers… With a smattering of help from the odd PCSO of a certain calibre!
Mr & Mrs MOP* the PCSO may have their place in today’s extended police family however; I’m afraid you are being conned and the PCSO is not the best use of your hard earned tax payments, you are just being provided with policing on the cheap!
Best value for your taxpayers money? I think not.
- Frontline policing ‘not meeting public demand’ (independent.co.uk)
- Only one in ten police officers on frontline, watchdog warns (guardian.co.uk)
- Plastic bobbies used to collect litter (telegraph.co.uk)
- Police Criticised Over Civilian Staffing (news.sky.com)
*MOP = Acronym for Member Of the Public