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PCSOs given extra powers to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour

Police Community Support Officers are to be given enhanced powers to tackle minor crime and anti-social behaviour more effectively in Staffordshire.

The force has over 220 PCSOs who provide a valuable link between local communities and police officers, as well as a visible presence on the streets.

Staffordshire has recently undertaken a review of the powers that PCSOs currently have.

These powers have been refreshed and agreed by the force’s Chief Constable, Gareth Morgan and will be more role related concentrating on the issues that local neighbourhoods tell us about and leaving police officers free to complete other duties.

Nationally, PCSOs have varying powers dependent on the geography and requirements of the particular force. The new powers issued to Staffordshire PCSOs are required to respond to specific local priorities.

As a result, they have been given responsibility for dealing with all complaints of anti-social behavior that are reported to police across the County, as well as other low level offences which impact on local communities.

Chief Inspector Mark Smith, who is the lead for PCSOs in Staffordshire Police, said: “PCSOs work within each of the neighbourhood policing teams across the force. Their day-today duties include high visibility patrols, tackling ASB, dealing with minor offences, as well as adopting a problem solving approach. 

"PCSOs can now also drive marked police vehicles as a form of transport to increase their capability to cover a wider area and attend road traffic collisions to support regular colleagues as well as directing traffic and supporting frontline policing.

“But one of their main roles is being part of the community, where they can get to know people, spend time listening to their concerns and providing a reassuring presence as well as being a uniformed deterrent in crime hot spots and gathering local intelligence.

“PCSOs are a huge part of neighbourhood policing and their role is to provide a vital and strong link with all local neighbourhoods. People are sometimes more confident and comfortable in speaking to a community support officer and they are able to get involved with lots of community and neighbourhood activities.

“Many of our staff have strong links with local schools and colleges, as well as regular drop in surgeries at community centres and hubs across their patches. They are often the first point of contact between police and the public and a link with our most vulnerable families who come into regular contact with police and partners.”

PCSOs are not warranted officers, so they don’t have the same powers as police officers- they cannot arrest people, but they can fine people, disperse groups and take personal details and carry a lot of responsibility.

They have daily duties and are encouraged to self-task jobs within their area. A typical day can include patrol duties, supporting cordons and road closures, drop-in surgeries and visits to school, helping at cadet programmes.

PCSOs work a seven day a week shift pattern between 7am-10pm. 

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