Police scheme hailed a success
By Juliette MaxamPOLICE community support officers have proved a big hit with the public in their first year on the streets, a report has revealed.Essex Chief Constable David Stevens has reviewed the impact of the force's 90 police community support officers 12 months after they were deployed throughout the county for the first time.
By Juliette Maxam
POLICE community support officers have proved a big hit with the public in their first year on the streets, a report has revealed.
Essex Chief Constable David Stevens has reviewed the impact of the force's 90 police community support officers 12 months after they were deployed throughout the county for the first time.
The community support officers, who have limited powers, patrol on foot or bicycle to provide high-visibility policing on the streets.
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They are mainly concerned with "quality of life" policing, such as tackling anti-social behaviour, youth nuisance, abandoned cars, road obstructions and community liaison.
A survey among community support officers and their managers - police sergeants and inspectors - found a high level of positive feedback from the public about their role, with their presence giving the public reassurance against crime.
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The majority of police sergeants and inspectors said they felt the service that Essex Police provided had improved since the introduction of community support officers and added they have been able to use their time and resources better.
In a report to the Essex Police Authority, Mr Stevens analysed data about community support officer's performance.
He concluded: "It is apparent from the figures that the police community support officers' primary function of high-visibility reassurance patrol, intelligence-gathering and problem-solving far exceeds the enforcement part of their role.
"The evidence so far suggests we have an effective team of appropriately-trained, well motivated, fully-integrated police community support officers who have made a valuable contribution to the provision of policing within the county.
"They have been warmly welcomed, not only by the communities they serve, but by the police officers and police staff colleagues."
Essex Police is now advertising for a further 45 police community support officers to patrol the streets and support regular officers.