Police: Important role of PCSOs

Re J Pawson’s letter in the Scarborough News (August 15), I feel I must reply to defend at the very least my local Police Community Support Officers (PCSO).

Maybe J Pawson doesn’t understand how PCSOs work.

Here are a couple of examples of how they free up warranted officers. You will usually find a PCSO standing guard over a scene of crime, leaving the warranted officer free to catch the criminal. By the way, police officers are more expensive to train than PCSOs so that’s better value for the taxpayer than using two police officers.

They also sit in on drop-in sessions with the local councillors so that members of the public can come to tell them of their concerns and problems. They relay information back to police headquarters so that real police officers can deal with it, again far cheaper to use a PCSO than an expensive police officer.

You will find that PCSOs stay local and therefore get to know the area, and more importantly the people, better, who in turn feel more comfortable talking to a familiar face.

Our PCSOs, along with police officers, regularly attend our local Community and Police (CAP) group meetings often in their own time.

In many cases you will find that the older PCSOs have had a job outside the police force and therefore bring these experiences to their new role and pass this on to the younger PCSOs, who very often go on to join the police force “proper”.

This again is often cheaper than training up a police officer who after six months decides this isn’t the career for them and leaves.

The residents in my area were that impressed with one of our local PCSOs that in 2009 they nominated him for the Government backed Wonderful Worker award. He was only one of 38 people to win it that year and was invited to London to pick up his award at the Home Office and then on to Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary who both thought very highly of him.

PCSOs are in no way a substitute for the warranted Bobby, they are exactly what it says on their uniform, ‘support officers’, and have a very important role in helping tackle crime and social behaviour in our streets.

C Charles

Trafalgar Square