PCSO News in Brief

We’ve been away for a week – but if you’ve missed us, fear not, here are our picks of PCSO and policing news from the last fortnight.

Could the West Midlands be patrolled by private companies?

Police News

Police Privatisation

Surrey and West Midlands Police are in talks with private companies over how their services could be delivered more efficiently. Some police services could be taken over by private companies, in what has been dubbed an attempt to “privatise” the police force.

There is disagreement over what services could be provided by private contractors.

Services such as supporting victims of crime, investigating crimes, patrolling neighbourhoods and managing high-risk individuals could be included.

But Lynne Owens, Surrey Chief Constable said: “Any suggestion that a private sector company will patrol the streets of Surrey is simply nonsense”

Policing Minister Nick Herbert added that: “there was absolutely no intention… that private companies will be involved in patrols. Those are core policing functions. This is all about supporting the front line by making sure that the backroom jobs that do that can be done more efficiently.”

Nick Herbert said that core policing functions would not be privatised

Policing Minister Nick Herbert with a policeman

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) said that the only way to cope with the financial cuts was by “radical and fundamental change [which] will allow forces to cope with this and maintain protection of the public.”

“Chief constables cannot ignore the financial crisis and the degree of change which is required.”

Police forces across the country will watch this process carefully to see what the involvement of private bodies in policing should be.

In some places private firms already perform policing-related functions, such as store detectives who detain shoplifters, security staff patrolling public spaces, monitoring CCTV in public spaces, and transporting prisoners between court and prison.

The Police Federation and the Labour Party criticized the move, but Ian Blair called it “a chance to modernise”.

Poll – should police privatise?

Read more here.

IPCC Upholds Mark Duggan Complaint

The family of Mark Duggan, whose death triggered last year’s August riots, has had its complaint upheld by the IPCC. The police should have told Mark Duggan’s family about his death directly. Read full story here.

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PCSO News

Local Businesses to fund new PCSO in Northampton

The new PCSO will be funded by the Northampton Business Improvement District (BID) and will largely patrol the town centre.

The deal was agreed between the Northamptonshire Police and the BID. The BID will dictate what the PCSO does, and the officer would only go to other areas in exceptional circumstances.  Stephen Chown, the lead on Northampton BID, said: “This is business, we are paying for the PCSO and we will get what we pay for.”

He said that often officers were taken away from the centre to deal with issues in other areas, but that this way the PCSO would be on their patch all the time

“It’s really good news for our town to have a PCSO on our streets full time, we are delivering exactly what the businesses want.

“We are not asking the police to do anything that they are not comfortable with, but we can help set the agenda.

“I believe the town centre has genuinely low level crime and we don’t want that to change.”

It comes after the BID provided funding for two additional PCSOs to the main town centre area throughout the Christmas period.

Commander for Northampton, Fay Tennet, said: “PCSOs provide a very valuable role in policing our communities and this agreement is good news for those who live and work in the town centre.

“Northamptonshire Police has a long history of working successfully with local businesses to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour issues, this new PCSO role will help us further in that endeavour.”

A spokesperson added that the PCSO would focus on the BID’s priorities but the Chief Constable would still retain the power to deploy the officer elsewhere in emergencies.

Read more here.

PCSO’s plan to make developers fund the police force

Thanks to a PCSO’s inventive idea, police in Warwickshire can apply for financial contributions from developers to help fund the future cost of the police force.

PCSO Rob Elton’s idea means Warwickshire Police can now apply for money from property developers to help pay for policing the county’s growing population.

For every new house built the force can apply for hundreds of pounds to help pay for the increased demand on its services

Read the full story.

Those two stories looked at different options for police funding – but what do  you think?

£500 fine for PCSO who accessed data

A FORMER PCSO from Colchester has been fined for accessing the information of 148 people “out of personal curiosity” while working for Essex Police.

Arrie Bygrave, 23, of Peppercorn Close, Colchester, admitted checking 1,684 records for his own purposes.

Full story here.

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Heroes of the Week

This week we couldn’t pick just one!

PCSO of the Year Award

PCSO Sarah Lowe, of Wandle Valley Safer Neighbourhoods Team won Police Community Support Officer of the Year at an awards ceremony in Westminster.

PCSO Lowe impressed senior officers by recognising dozens of wanted suspects after researching them and identifying locations where they were likely to be found. She is also well respected for her commitment to dealing with issues in the local community including work with licensed premises.

She said: “I’m thrilled to win an award for a job a really love doing.”

Read more about it.

PCSO attacked by thug seizes illegal quad bike

A heroic PCSO was attacked as he tackled a yob on an quad-bike. PCSO John Cannon was punched twice – but still managed to seize the illegal off-road vehicle.

He was on patrol in New Moston when he was tipped off that four quad bikes were being driven around nearby streets. Mr Cannon caught up with one bike as it emerged from a side street. He said: “I went towards the rider and he pushed me in the face then hit me twice in the face. But I got the bike – that was the priority.”
Read more here.

And as ever, if we’ve forgotten something you think deserve to make an appearance in this news round up – or you’ve noticed something that should be in next week’s – please let us know! Either use the comment box below or send us an email onthebeat101@gmail.com.

And of course, you can check our all our other stories on our home page!

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