Wednesday, March 22, 2006

PCSO - Every Little Helps!

Plenty of my fellow bloggers are speaking about PCSO's lately (Lights, Sirens, Action and The Monkey) and in particular the government's plans to introduce another 10,000 of them.

When PCSO's were first mentioned, the public were assured that they were not "policing on the cheap", but just a dynamic, pro-active, re-active hyperwhatsisface way of dealing with modern crime. Yeah right...

They ARE policing on the cheap - theres no argument there, and most of the PCSO's that I know acknowledge this happily with us. However, that doesn't mean they are a bad idea: like most things, there are the positive and negatives to PCSO patrol. On the positive side, they do the job they are employed to do very well, they are excellent for hi-visibility public policing, they reassure the public by showing more police officers on the street. They know all the faces of the local criminals, and submit the neatest encounter forms you've ever seen!

The main problem with PCSO's is the fact that they have no actual powers. This means two things 1) The government pays them less than they would an officer, as they are "non-confrontational" and 2) If a PCSO actually spots something happening which can't be dealt with by a smile and a stop, they call for a police officer to join them.

Thus, you regularly get the following problem. All ten response officers on duty are tied up with their shoplifters, domestics, drunks etc, with no units available. All ten PCSO's are wandering about the town centre. Two PCSOs spot an assault in progress, shout up over the radio - and theres no one to turn out. Two more find a well known criminal, and shout up that they think an officer might be needed to search said youth (on what grounds you'll never know until you get there!). Two more are approached by someone reporting a crime - can we have an officer here too?

PCSO's look good on paper, and as I said before, do what they are paid to do very well. Its just unfortunate that a side effect of their actions is to stretch out a response shift which went well past snapping point two hours into the shift. Whats the solution to this? More police officers would be a start. Unfortunately, thats unlikely as the budget just got blown on 10,000 more PCSO's - who will also all be calling for more officers to deal with the job they've found...

In summary - PCSO's would be a tremendous benefit to the police, IF we had enough actual officers first. Unfortunately, we don;t have enough police, and so the governments solution to this is hire more PCSO's, as you can get more of them for your money.


At 12:57 am, Blogger Rolferoo said...

I was talking to my local PCSOs this evening and said another 10000 of you on the way then. One said, "Yeah we will probably double in numbers here, God knows what we are all going to do!!". This comment was made while the 4 of them were sat in the office browsing the internet or drinking tea!!! Meanwhile the whole section of PCs was out on the streets being run ragged!!

At 10:31 am, Anonymous Spartacus said...

It's better than that - some of our scum kids know that PCSOs have no powers and therefore ignore them or tell them to f*ck off.

They are the biggest con since God knows when, and a false economy. It takes 2 years (in theory) to train a Police Officer, and you're not going anywhere alone for the best part of 6 months till you're out of company.

PCSOs get 2 weeks then that's it. They then get trained to do little tasks by people who aren't necessarily qualified to train anyone else, and in many cases, sorting them out once it goes wrong takes more time and effort than it would have doen to send a bobby to the job in the first place.

If we had one bobby in the place of three PCSOs they'd still do more real police work.

It will only be a matter of time before a) the public spot that PCSOs are powerless and useless and b) the H.O. then starts letting them being sworn in as constables and we get a genuine 2 tier system.

At 4:43 am, Blogger Semper Fi said...

A very true blog my friend! Let's stop recruiting PCSO's and actually pay for Police Officers...some PCSOs I find cause problems rather than solve them.

Not all though - fair play to them for having the courage to take abuse and have no powers to deal with it.

If you're bored please check out my blog, i'm new! :)

Thanks mate.

At 7:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes a very accurate portrait of PCSOs. Problem is the scheme comes strait from the top and therefore will succeed (whether it actually helps or not).

What a waste of my tax money! :)

At 4:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not one bobby I know thinks PCSO's are a good idea. One of the biggest cons in recent history they are.

At 8:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope lies in the proles.

We cant strike, therefore one shift (I suggest a late on fri) we all followed force policy to the letter. That means best practice and everything.

The whole system would grind to a halt.

At 1:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

work to rule in the police service for coppers and civilians will always be more crippling than any strike action ever could hope to be...

At 5:08 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PCSO what can you say about them thats not already been said. Nice enough as people but you do get a bit p*****d off having to dig them out of the C****p they have got into.
maybe I can get them to do the ever growing paperwork that arrives on my desk everytime after i have made the mistake of arresting some one
after all they want to be part of the "Police Family" then lets share some paper work

At 6:24 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a cheerful note, I have had "a" positive outcome from the creation on PCSO's (although there was no direct involvement from a PCSO)

As someone else posted - PCSO's have very little power "at present". This is known by most scrotes around the area, who take it as routine to call PCSO's "p**cks" or "c**ts" each time they pass a PCSO. In fact, they say it with such ease, it has almost become the norm'.

Quite a few months ago, me and a colleague decided we'd have stroll down the High Road instead of manning the area car. However, my colleague had lost his top hat and we were reduced to flat cap's.

Late on this beautiful Saturday evening, just at pub kicking out time, we were appraoched by a couple of local lads who were a bit worse for wear. As they swaggered in our direction one of them showed a moment of bravado and stormed up so he was standing in front of us. Through being so drunk this miscreant had failed to recognise:
a)Although we were wearing flat caps similar to PCSO's - PCSO's we were not.
b)We were substantially larger than this little tool.

My colleague received a poke in the chest and got told "You think your just like Old Bill, but you're not innit. You're just a Community c**t who wants to be innit. You can't do nuffin to me you w**ker!"

I'm sure you can guess what followed.

At 11:57 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a PCSO, and whilst there are some parts of your blog which I agree with, I'd just like to say, if your already depleted relief wants to deal with scene guards, witness ID parades, CCTV collections, house to house, anti-social behaviour cases and community surgeries then let's see what happens when their all tucked up and a 9's call comes in.

..and why is it that some coppers in my force are leaving to become PCSO's?

Perhaps you should visit other forces and see how the PCSO's work there.

Unfortunately your view seems to be very tainted by your own personal experiences, rather than the role of PCSO across the board.

I'd love to have time to have a cup of tea from time to time. In reality I'm far to busy doing the c**p jobs that coppers don't want to do, because they can't be bothered.

At 11:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is police responce teams are being cut dangerously short. When I first joined police had the time to go round and target criminals, now we just drive by them to the next outstanding I call. PCSOs can't fill our gap and now the criminals have almost a free run. If any PCSO here can say I'm wrong feel free.

At 11:50 pm, Blogger AntiSocialWatch said...

I feel sorry for some of the PCSOs, some of them want to do more but are not given all the powers. It depends on the area they are policing. It shouldn't be up to the individual chief, they should be given powers full stop, what one has, they all should have.

At 11:31 pm, Blogger PCSO said...

First off, in my force, PCSO’s get sixteen weeks training including there tutoring on section with a senior (trained) PCSO tutor (like me :) ) they attend regular refresher training and can have some or all of the following powers:

1. Power to issue FPN’s (fines) for dog fouling
2. Power to issue FPN’s for littering
3. Power to issue FPN’s for graffiti/fly-posting
4. Power to remove abandoned vehicles
5. power to issue FPN’s for cycling on the pavement
6. Power to stop cycles
7. Power to stop vehicles for testing, power to escort abnormal loads and power to carry out road checks
8. Power to require name and address for road traffic offences
9. Power to direct traffic and to place road signs
10. Power to issue PND (fines) for throwing fireworks and trespassing on a railway and throwing stones on a railway
11. Power to seize vehicles used to cause alarm
12. Power to enter licensed premises
13. Power to require persons drinking in a designated area to surrender alcohol
14. Power to require persons aged under 18 to surrender alcohol
15. Power to search a person for alcohol and tobacco
16. Power to seize tobacco from persons aged under 16 and to dispose of that tobacco
17. Power to seize drugs and require name and address for possession of drugs
18. Power to require name and address for anti-social behaviour
19. Power to deal with begging
20. Power to issue a PND (fine) for breach of fireworks curfew (possession of category 4 firework; possession by a person under 18 for an adult firework; supply of excessively load firework)
21. Power to require name and address for relevant offences
22. Power to Detain
23. Power to photograph persons away from a police station (who has been arrested, detained or given an FPN)
24. Power to enter and search any premises for purposes of saving life and limb or preventing damage to property
25. Power to stop and search vehicles and pedestrians under Terrorism Act 2000 in the company of a Constable
26. Power to enforce cordoned areas under Terrorism Act 200
27. Power to enforce byelaws
28. Power to search detained persons for dangerous items or items that could be used to assist escape
29. Power to use reasonable force to prevent a detained person making off
30. Power to use reasonable force to transfer control of detained person
31. Power to remove children in contravention of curfew notice to their place of residence
32. Power to issue FPN for truancy
33. Power to remove truants to a designated place
34. Power to issue PND (fine) for wasting police time, giving false report, using public network communications in order to cause annoyance; knowingly giving false alarm to a person acting on behalf of a fire and rescue authority
35. Power to disperse groups and remove persons under 16 to their place of residence
36. Power to enforce certain licensing offences (sale of alcohol to someone drunk, under 18, obtaining for someone who is drunk etc)
37. Power to issue PND for drunk and disorderedly behaviour; drunk in the highway

Many of the powers mentioned above enable a PCSO to DEAL with an incident without asking for a PC to attend.
Many PC’s responding to grade 1’s (emergency 999 type calls) think the lower level crap isn’t important and given a slow time response as it’s not a priority, fine.
But the people calling the non emergency numbers, feel it is important, to their quality of life, and they are HIGH on our priorities list.
With everything its six of one and half a dozen of the other.

As with everything, time will change things, eventually you will get help from us, we will lighten your work load and will be part of your NPT’S and NST’s.

We have a great relationship with our PC’s and often go drinking together.
When standard powers for PCSO’s comes in to play and we all have a robust set of powers, we will be able to do more, assist you with far more and deal with things on the street that do NOT require a PC to attend.

At 8:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am just about to start my training as a PCSO and to be honest you guys dont make me feel that up for it. Ive been a prison officer for a private prison for 3 years and also trained in the tornado prison riot squad. So its not like i cannot handle myself or the situations that will make themselves present in the next 6 months. my fiance is a copper and even he makes me feel second best.
As a PCSO i dont want to be there to hinder anyone...i want to be able to HELP. I want the police to deal with serious problems and leave the poop as it were to us. Thats what we are there for, but it seems all the PCS want to do is complain about it.
It pays the bills doesnt it!


At 8:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE ".and why is it that some coppers in my force are leaving to become PCSO's?"

The people I know who left as a PC and became a PCSO either couldn't handle it or wanted the easy life.

At 9:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a PCSO and I have to say I think too many of you have had too many poor experiences with your PCSOs. As with any job you get some good and some bad. The entire Police service is no different. Remember also that most PCSOs belong to a Safer Neighbourhoods Teams which has a Sergeant and two PCs, all of which are available at request should a PCSO need PC assistance. In the team I am in we all get along and work together to solve problems on our ward. Response teams are understaffed as are many other areas of the service, as are lots of other businesses. Response teams are just that, a response, and they do a fantastic job. We however are there to either prevent or solve long term problems or are dealing with the aftermath of incidents. For example, the old lady that has been victim to artifice burglary in the care home she lives in, we visit frequently following the incident to reassure and offer and provide solutions to the management along with residents on future prevention. Or the empty house that is attracting squatters, that in turn brings a crime wave with them, we work in partnership with councils etc to get rid of the squatters and bring the property back into use so that it doesn't attract them again, or become an eyesore on the street. Or the intelligence we gather on premises being used to sell drugs, again bringing crime waves with it. Or the community issues like the elderly that are living in squalor with no help, that no one is aware of, or getting the homeless off the streets, back into a home etc etc etc. I could go on & on but my point is that all these little things are going a long way to providing long term solutions to community issues rather than just applying a band aid. Response teams will have their workloads eased as in the example of the squatters, the problem goes, as does the crime wave that they would be responding to. I would like more powers, I would like more police... Rather than all the moaning I hear day in day out in parts of the service or outside it, it would be nice for everyone to think, how can we all work together? People are far to quick to moan rather than get off their not so high & mighty perches and actually do something positive.

At 4:19 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a police officer and they do some good work but on the other hand some of them cause us lots of problems by being want a be's. They go beyond what they are supposed to do ie going into peoples front gardens and looking under the canvas of a bike.
Police are then called to the irate person asking why the pcso is on there property this is sadly not a one of time.
They are really upgraded traffic wardens

At 5:09 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems some of you really trying to put a downer on pcso's. im about to start my training, and i cant wait. if we did not have pcso's you coppers would soon be lost with no one to do your dirty work as such. dont know how lucky you are until you dont have it anymore. you should be praising pcso's not trying to fault them.

At 12:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am training to become a pcso so i can help others and and deal with problems the best i can with what powers i will be given,i understand some people think they are not worth the money or the time and more regular police officers should be the way forward however since at this moment in time pcso,s are in demand and untill something better is done lets give these people who have joined a hand they do there best to help us with very thought to there well being and if they stay as a pcso if they want they can move on to be coming a regular officer,just to remind everyone the youth today give real officers problems let alone a pcso but the pcso have no arrest powers,no cs spray,no batton, and no hancuffs but is still out there trying to
help the public and the community to be a better place.WOULD YOU?. G.T

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At 10:54 pm, Blogger stuart said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

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