Jury's still out on PCSOs

Chris Carter THE ADVENT of PCSOs in 2004 drew a mixed reaction – and the jury is still out. One of the main aims was to tackle the public s fear of crime by getting bobbies on the street. And many in Redbridge feel that has been achieved. They are highly visible and

Chris Carter

THE ADVENT of PCSOs in 2004 drew a mixed reaction - and the jury is still out.

One of the main aims was to tackle the public's fear of crime by getting "bobbies" on the street. And many in Redbridge feel that has been achieved. They are highly visible and, it would appear, create a safer environment.

But a TV programme earlier this week revealed the disparities in power for PCSOs throughout the UK. Some can handcuff suspects, others can do little more than give people a ticking off. That often means they are objects of ridicule.


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Union Unison is calling for the shackles to be released from PCSOs, claiming they are being asked to do the job with one arm tied behind their back.

Monday's TV show seemed to confirm that, but many in the force would rather see the money spent on full-time cops.

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Whatever the issues, sadly nothing will prevent the likes of Daniel Cotham (see our front page) from wheedling their way into such positions of responsibility. But it does little to counteract the opposition to PCSOs.

Tell us whether you believe PCSOs to be a positive step for policing or a waste of resources by voting on our online poll.

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