Mon 30 November 2020

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Police Community Support Officers: good value for our money?

When Police Community Support Officers came into being a few years ago, and I was one of the many who thought they would be a cheap version of our regular Police Officers.  Since their introduction I have realised what a great job of work these lads and lasses carry out. They are fully trained before they are let loose on the public, and have a long list of responsibilities, but unlike Police Officers they are not on long contracts so are easy options when it comes to cutting costs.  PCSOs are easily identified by the blue bands on their hats and blue markings on their uniforms.
PCSOs work together with a Beat Manager who is a regular Police Constable and they are supervised by a Beat Sergeant, one in each area of Torridge covering Bideford, Torrington and Holsworthy, and all work under a Police Inspector who is based at Bideford Police Station.
PCSOs have a varied role and apart from the visual one of seeing them on our streets on their beats, they have a number of other duties.  With Neighbourhood Watch they are the link between the Police and our Co-ordinators and also work together with us starting up new Watches.  They visit Co-ordinators and pass on important information and also sort out many problems, and take information back to the Police.
PCSOs work closely with our schools and students, and are often the friendly face that students can trust to pass on their problems and worries to.  The PCSOs take an active part in sports events for the children and this is a great way of gaining their trust and not be looked at has another face of authority.  Building trust at a young age like this makes our children better citizens of the future.  Of course PCSOs also have to deal with discipline in schools and can often steer our children on the right road for the future.  Many PCSOs take an active role in organising and running Youth Clubs, often in their own time and personal cost.
Often PCSOs are involved with Speed Watch and the safety of our children outside schools when going and coming back from school, and take an active part many activities that people of any age enjoy.  Of course PCSOs also have similar responsibilities to regular Police Constables in dealing with crime, the reduction of crime and the effects of crime.
Due to the excellent work undertaken by our Police Force in Bideford and Torridge, we live in the second safest area in England and Wales and they will not be happy until they are number one.  We have a great team in Bideford and Torridge, of Police Officers including PCSOs, Specials and NHW so we must support them all.
Yes, I think you must agree, PCSOs are worth their cost.
Tom Carrick
Chairman, Torridge District NHW