Community officers are not “plastic police” say union officials

10:47 04 March 2014

Cambridgeshire Police. Community policing

Cambridgeshire Police. Community policing

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Community police are valued members of the force and not simply “plastic police officers”, according to union officials, who have praised a decision to keep them for the long term future.

The community team will continue to be an important part of protecting our towns and villages, according to union officers within Cambridgeshire Police, following a review into their work.

Ten years after their role was launched a massive review has recently been undertaken.

UNISON Branch Officers at Cambridgeshire Police say they are pleased that the review has shown that police community support officers, PCSOs, need to continue into the long-term future.

Chief Constable Simon Parr and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sir Graham Bright have announced that “PCSOs have a guaranteed long-term future in the force” and no jobs are at stake.

Dave Craig, UNISON branch secretary, said: “This survey proves how well-regarded our PCSOs are. At last we can now look to getting rid of the stigma attached to PCSOs.

“They are not ”Blunkett’s Plastic Police Officers” but professional people doing a difficult job helping to keep the public and local communities safe. I applaud this decision by the PCC and the Chief Constable.”

The number of PCSOs has been set at 150 with a new emphasis being placed on the role they play in safeguarding victims of crime, anti-social behaviour (ASB) and domestic violence.

The review was the first of its kind and involved surveying more than 100 PCSOs, managers and more than 1,800 members of the public engaged with the review.

Led by Temporary Chief Insp Sutherland, it sought to find out about the work carried out by PCSOs to make sure they remained an efficient part of the policing family.

The main conclusion was that the public, partner agencies, elected representatives, voluntary groups and all levels of the police service put considerable value in the work being undertaken by PCSOs.

Temporary Chief Insp Sutherland said: “PCSOs have been a successful innovation in UK policing and have a guaranteed long-term future within Cambridgeshire Constabulary.”

Some new recruitment will take place over the next few months.

Lee Hurley, Branch Communications Officer for UNISON said: “It has been a long period of uncertainty whilst this review has been undertaken but despite this, our members have continued to deliver a first class service to the residents and businesses of Cambridgeshire.

“With such a phenomenal level of public support, this review has recognised the value the force places in its PCSOs and UNISON look forward in continuing to work with the force to develop this role.”

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