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PCSOs in firing line

PUBLISHED: 17:43 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010

POLICE community support officers have little impact on crime and anti-social behaviour in the county, a report has found. An Evaluation of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) released by Kent Police last week, has stated they have not reduced crim

POLICE community support officers have little impact on crime and anti-social behaviour in the county, a report has found.

An Evaluation of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) released by Kent Police last week, has stated they have not reduced crime and are spending too long on paperwork.

Ian Pointon, chairman of Kent Police Federation, who has been opposed to PCSOs since they were introduced in 2002, said: "This is what happens when politicians tinker with policing. The public wanted more visible policing and they created PCSOs as a knee-jerk reaction.

"It reinforces what we said right from the start. There is no role for PCSOs. They are having no impact on crime, no impact on anti-social behaviour and it's time for them to go."

The report was discussed by top police officials and members of Kent Police Authority at a meeting evaluating the impact of PCSOs last Wednesday.

Ann Barnes, chair of Kent Police Authority, said: "This report is warts and all and is valuable to the authority and force. It highlights pointers where we need to make changes. We remain confident police community support officers do a good job on the streets."

One of the major criticisms levied at PCSOs is their limited powers. They are allowed to issue fixed penalty notices and detain a suspect for up to 30 minutes but are not authorised to make arrests.

More than half the public interviewed for the report said that the powers were insufficient to perform the job.

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