PCSO - Special Constable and Law and Order

  spuds 11:42 04 Oct 2010

Every government and political party seems to state that they are going to get tough on law and order issues, and the last election was no different. But reading latest reports, it would appear that most Chief Constables are telling people that services "will be reduced", due to shortfalls in revenue in the foreseeable future.

The role of the Police Community Support Officer as been placed under the microscope, and it as been suggested that this division may face disbandment. A further saving is the role of police officer, and it would appear that volunteer 'unpaid' special constables will need to replace officers in regular service, due to future non-recruitment or replacement plans. Being a volunteer special constable, would possibly lead to a quick route to police officer, when recruitment, replacement levels plus funding allow.

Whats your views, opinions or comment on this subject. A letter to your MP, local newspaper, or just lets ignore it perhaps?.

  Forum Editor 18:17 04 Oct 2010

to provide police community support (lowercase intentional), it would be easier to see that the PCSO role is redundant."

I think this is the core issue. It's no good us abdicating responsibility for law and order, and expecting the Police to deal with everything in some kind of bubble - we're all partly responsible for the way our neighbourhoods work or don't work. It's the same thing with education - we can't sit back and expect teachers to handle the whole thing, as parents we should all become involved.

What we put in we'll get back, and if we're not prepared to put anything in....

A couple of weekends ago I was in my driveway, and a female Police officer walked up. She introduced herself as one of my local home beat officers and asked if there was anything I wanted to discuss about the way the area was being policed. She left me a form on which I could voice any concerns, and said 'you can expect to see me and my colleagues walking the streets from now on - just stop us for a chat if you have any concerns'.

It made me feel involved, and struck me as the right way to go about community policing - face to face with the people you'll be dealing with. It fills me with optimism.

  spuds 22:36 04 Oct 2010

But according to reports from Chief Constables, they will have no funding or resources for additional police or filling vacant posts. If anything, the 'visits' will only be in time of desperate need,and perhaps not even then.

With the case of the extra advertising and recruitment for unpaid volunteer special constable suggestion. The training and equipment will be provided as now, but the more specials on the streets, in place of PCSO's and the regular police force, will save approximately £22.000 per person in wage bills.

Our local previous Chief Constable introduced a scheme of extra police in the community. At first this was a total success, because people got to know 'their' beat bobby, and vice versa. Over the past twelve months, there is a constant change of the local beat bobby teams, which disrupts communications and people tend to lose interest.

  Algerian peter 23:00 04 Oct 2010

"A couple of weekends ago I was in my driveway, and a female Police officer walked up. She introduced herself as one of my local home beat officers and asked if there was anything I wanted to discuss about the way the area was being policed."

But could this be due to most police forces facing a massive budget cut.

The chief constable telling officers to get on the beat and show a visual presence, in the hope that the cuts might not be to severe.

  Forum Editor 23:01 04 Oct 2010

The problem that faces us as a nation is exactly the same as the problem that would face you or I if we were to get into serious debt and have to make savings.

If we allocate extra funds in one direction we will have to reduce expenditure in another. One Ministry gets more, so another has to have less, and of course everyone thinks that their particular need is more pressing. Some of us would prioritise education, others the NHS, and still others the Police, and so it goes on.

I believe that despite what Chief Constables might say it is still possible to provide an effective Police service. The fact is, most Police Officers would say that they are weighed down under far too much paperwork, and this slows them down and makes them less effective in terms of fighting crime. What's needed is support from government for a more streamlined approach, and that will necessitate changes in legislation.

It could be done, but will be a fairly complicated and lengthy process to unravel what has evolved over a long period. One solution might be to throw more IT hardware at officers in cars and on the streets. Handheld and vehicle-borne computers could take a considerable load off in terms of basic admin procedures. It happens in America - get stopped by Police in many US states and you'l see a full-sized, specially fitted touch screen computer in the car. It enables officers to carry out comprehensive information searches, as well as recording arrest information for processing back at base.

It's all possible, but it needs the political will,coupled with the cooperation of Police Committees and Chief Constables up and down the country - a daunting challenge if ever there was one.

  Forum Editor 23:05 04 Oct 2010

Your rationale is entirely possible - it could well be motivated by a fear of cuts. Personally I doubt it - I think the Metropolitan Police have realised that officers on foot in the community is a better way to do the job in many respects.

If you like, they've grasped what their predecessors of fifty years ago knew only too well.

  spuds 15:25 05 Oct 2010

The UK police forces have already under gone a major shift to 'more advanced' IT equipment over the past years, and definitely from the time of DNA in police work. Quite a lot of this equipment is used by civilian staff, but if details are correct, then the civilian staff are going to be the hardest hit in respect of job loses. This will only lead to less visible policing and not more.

A point in question about IT provisions and inter-force communications improvements, possibly all stems from the Kegworth air disaster or the Colin Pitchfork murders all those years ago, when total breakdowns of previously used systems became non-functional in major disaster or murder exercises. At those times, government and the emergency services learned a great deal, but it is only now that major improvements are being noticed and combined to any success.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul isn't going to provide a 'tough on criminals' solution, as the various politicians and government keep strongly suggesting, and neither will poor management practices, at lower or higher grades. Chief Constables seem very good at scare-mongering, but so does the politicians. Perhaps we should move to the American way of electing our police chiefs, and then there might be a possibility of getting value for money?.

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