Police Community Support Officers | Criminology Dissertations

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Abstract

Police forces across England and Wales in 2002 have been provided with a new member of the police force to support police officers. These Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) were introduced in the Police Reform Act 2002 to address disorder, low level crime, high visible patrols, and public reassurance. This Act gave a list of limited standard and discretionary police powers to PCSOs.

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The role of the PCSO as an extended member of the police family links the community to the police, without all the powers typically associated with policing. This limitation has cast doubt over their effectiveness within the local community.

This report shows how powers vested in PCSOs have evolved to address issues of public confusion around their capabilities. Then the report argues that PCSOs patrols have made an impact upon crime levels and analyses criticism made about the PCSOs. This Report uses the British Crime Survey (BCS) trends in certain crime from 1981 to 2007. The trends show that since the PCSOs introduction in 2002 the majority of crime levels have started to decrease. Finally this report critically debates remarks made by David Gilbertson about PCSOs and compares them against case studies that have been conducted to find that these remarks are not at all true.

Acronym

  • ACPO – Association of Chief Police Officers
  • ASB – Anti Social Behaviour
  • BBC – British Broadcasting Corporation
  • BCS – British Crime Survey
  • BCU – Basic Command Unit
  • CDA – Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • CSO – Community Support Officer
  • CSOs – Community Support Officers
  • FPN – Fixed Penalty Notice
  • PCSO – Police Community Support Officer
  • PCSOs – Police Community Support Officers
  • PRA – Police Reform Act 2002

Introduction

Policing in the United Kingdom (U.K) is undergoing considerable change; it is changing in profound ways, engineering the introduction of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Ever since the introduction of PCSOs in the Police Reform Act (PRA) 2002, there has been much criticism ranging from their need in the community, to their effectiveness in their roles within society. These issues need to be addressed in order to give PCSOs the recognition they deserve. This report will show if the criticisms made are true or false in regards to PCSOs effectiveness around their roles within society. In order to do this it will seek to answer the following three aims:-

Aim one – How PCSOs powers have evolved over the course of time

Aim two – Have PCSOs impacted recorded crime whilst on patrol? This would act as statistical towards their effectiveness in society.

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