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Community Support Officers ‘have hands tied’ claim

Community Support Officers ‘have hands tied’ claim

🕔30.Jul 2012

The Conservative candidate for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner is promising to introduce tough new powers for Police Community Support Officers.

Matt Bennett said he would make sure that PCSOs were given all of the powers available to them under national legislation including the right to detain suspects and issue fixed penalty fines.

Mr Bennett is critical of the local approach to PCSOs, which he said were not being well used.

Of 58 powers available to community support officers, the West Midlands force allows only 16 to be used – one of the lowest rates in the country.

An election for and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will be held on November 15.

The winning candidate will be able to set strategic crime-fighting priorities as well as the force budget and will have the power to hire and fire the chief constable.

Mr Bennett said: “PCSOs are a vital resource for neighbourhood policing, but they are not used well by West Midlands Police.

“There are 58 discretionary powers that Police Forces can give to PCSOs. These include things like the power to detain, the power to deal with begging and the power to issue fixed penalty notices for graffiti and fly-posting.

“Of these 58 powers West Midlands PCSOs are given 16 – one of the lowest in the country. There are only five forces that have less powerful PCSOs, whereas forces like, Greater Manchester, Leicestershire and Essex award their PCSOs with the vast majority of the powers available to them.

“If I am elected I will ensure that PCSOs are given all the powers available to them so that they no longer have one arm tied behind their backs in the fight against crime.”

He hit out at trade unions, which he said were falsely accusing him of wanting to abolish PCSOs.

Mr Bennett added: “A number of PCSOs have told me that their trade union has written to them urging them to vote Labour because I want to abolish the role of PCSOs. They are trying to scare people into voting Labour by making them think their jobs are at risk.”

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