Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Police chief offers PCSO assurance

Proposals being considered in South Yorkshire would see PCSOs become the 'first line of contact' for the public

A chief constable has sought to reassure the public that police were not being taken off the beat and replaced with community support officers.

David Crompton, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, told the police authority meeting in Barnsley that reports of proposals to rebrand PCSOs were a "storm in a teacup".

The meeting discussed the update of the initiative, which has seen PCSOs in South Yorkshire become the first line of contact for the public in neighbourhood policing matters.

The proposals state that regular officers would be grouped into so-called "taskable teams" available to deal with serious incidents, with PCSOs, under the title local beat officer (LBO), carrying out grass-roots work on the streets.

Mr Crompton told the meeting: "We aren't taking police officers away from areas they work, they will still be working in the same areas they have worked in previously, dealing with problems in the same streets, in the same communities.

"They will still be working in the same areas, they will not be stuck away in some police station somewhere."

The meeting was told that the proposals affected only neighbourhood policing, not the response teams.

Mr Crompton said: "If somebody needs a police officer, they will get one, in the same way they always have."

In a statement released earlier, Mr Crompton described media reports as "inaccurate". He said: "Today's discussion in relation to PCSO powers and duties would not result in a removal of police constables from frontline policing.

"PCSOs will continue their valuable role working alongside police officers and special constables in safer neighbourhood teams working in communities as they always have done. Our proposal is that we enhance their powers so that they can deal with more incidents that don't require a police constable with the powers of arrest."

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