Frinton and Walton Town Council Police Community Support Officers
Following a public consultation in 2003 the Town Council decided to part-fund six Police Community Support Officers with a further two recruitments in 2006 totalling eight. The agreement with Essex Police was initially, for a three year period from 2004-2007. However, following the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner and reorganisations within the Police Authority PCSO part-funding was withdrawn. The Town Council made the decision to fully fund six PCSOs w.e.f. April 2015 in order to continue with the good work they have done in this area. They are still employed and directed by Essex Police although Town Councillors meet with the Police regularly to assist in planning the PCSOs operations.
Are they like special constables, traffic wardens of local authority neighbourhood wardens?
Just as PCSOs are not the same as police officers, they are not the same as special constables, traffic wardens or local authority wardens. They are a unique role designed purely to tackle local anti-social behaviour and issues affecting the quality of life. Special constables have the same powers as police officers. While PCSOs will be providing a visible and regular patrol unlike neighbourhood wardens they are employed by the police and have some powers to allow them to directly tackle some anti-social issues.
Why is the Town Council funding Police Community Support Officers?
Public demand for visible patrols has never been greater. The Town Council has used opportunities arising from the Government's reform of policing to provide the Police with additional capacity to better meet this demand and deliver a service our communities expect and deserve.
What do they do?
Their primary purpose is to improve the community and offer greater public reassurance. In support of regular police officers they will work within a targeted areas to provide a visible and accessible uniformed presence; work with partners and community organisations to address anti-social behaviour, the fear of crime, environmental issues and other factors with affect the quality of people's lives. For example; reporting vandalism or damaged street furniture, reporting suspicious activity; providing crime prevention advice, deterring juvenile nuisance and visiting victims of crime.
Where will they work?
They will work only in the area of Frinton and Walton Town Council. That is, the communities of Frinton on Sea, Great Holland, Kirby Cross, Kirby le Soken and Walton on the Naze. They will work in a range of locations that may include areas experiencing a particular problem. This will be determined primarily by the divisional commander. PCSOs will be part of the team that is managed by the community policing sergeant. They will have radios and have access to all appropriate Essex Police information systems.
What powers will they have?
- The issue of fixed penalty notices in respect of:
- Cycling on the footway
- Dog Fouling
- Confiscation of alcohol in designated public places
- Confiscation of alcohol from young persons
- Confiscation of tobacco from young persons
- Removal of abandoned vehicles
- Seizure of vehicles used to cause alarm
- Entry to save life or limb or prevent serious damage to property
- Carrying out road checks
- Enforcing cordon areas under s.36 Terrorism Act 2000
- Stop and search of vehicles and items carried by persons in authorised areas ss.44 and 45 Terrorism Act 2000 in the company of a constable
- Stopping vehicles for the purpose of testing
- Regulating traffic for the purpose of escorting abnormal loads
Power to require name and address:
Have a power to require a persons name and address in the following circumstances:
- Reasonable belief of a relevant offence:
- Relevant fixed penalty offence
- Offence involves injury/alarm/distress
- Offence involves loss/damage to property
- Reasonable belief that subject is acting in an anti-social manner
How can they be effective with out full police powers?
PCSOs are not police officers. A major part of the work of PCSO's involves tasks that when undertaken by police officers do not require them to resort to using their full police powers. All PCSO's will be given full training to enable them to take appropriate action in the event of difficult circumstances. They will be supervised by police officers and will have radio access to enable them to call for assistance should it be required.
Why can't you just employ more constables?
Essex Police are committed to employing as many police officers as they can. However there is a need to provide a more visible and accessible uniformed patrol presence and need to tackle the quality of life issues. These tasks do not require the powers or experience of police officers but often take police officers away from more appropriate duties.
Do police officers now not have to conduct foot patrol, remove abandoned vehicles or report graffiti?
Improving and maintaining the quality of life of our communities and to provide public reassurance remains and the duty of ALL STAFF. PCSOs will not have sole responsibility for these tasks but are there to support police officers in these duties in specific geographic areas.
What equipment will they have?
Because of the way they will be deployed and managed, they will have all the necessary equipment and training to effectively carry out their role. They will all have personal radios that provide immediate access to police communications and support.
How are they accountable?
PCSOs are full members of Essex Police staff and have been recruited to ensure they meet the high levels of integrity expected of all staff. As members of Essex Police they are subjected to the same level of standards and scrutiny as other staff. They are managed by a sergeant, work with a community support team manager and are ultimately accountable to the divisional commander.
How can we tell who is a PCSO and who is a police officer?
PCSOs wear a uniform that makes them recognisable as being employees of Essex Police but that makes them look distinct from police officers. All PCSOs carry personal identification.
What training are they being provided with?
PCSOs are being trained in the structure and principles of the force; customer care and community and race relations issues; relevant law and how to exercise their powers; patrol issues; use of Essex Police technology, systems and partnership arrangements. They will be provided with on-going support, training and development.
Why do they only need a short course when it takes two years to train as a police constable?
PCSOs require less training because their role is different and more specific to that of a police constable. PCSOS will be fully trained to understand their role and how and when their powers should be exercised. The training package is comprehensive and on-going and is far greater than the training currently received by local authority warden schemes.
But I want to talk to a police officer?
PCSOs will do their best to listen to you and resolve the issues you have or problems you may be experiencing. But there are sometimes when you may want to speak to a police officer. You can always do this by contacting your local police station. However, because PCSOs work with the community policing team managers you can rely on them to pass any message or query to them if you wish.
For more information about PCSOs contact the Police website: www.essex.police.uk