After last week’s astonishing attacks on PCSOs from the Conservative Councillors of Bowdon and Hale Barns, it was good to see Chief Constable Fahy’s resolute support for PCSOs on this week’s Online Chat.
I don’t want to pick on Councillors Hyman and Sharp but their views were striking in their lack of any awareness of policing outside the extraordinarily affluent neighbourhoods they represent.
However, given that Councillor Sharp is Trafford’s sole member of the Police Authority and Councillor Hyman is a magistrate and member of the Probation Trust Board, it really matters. I would urge both Councillors to widen their outlook urgently. PCSOs have made a huge difference to the policing in places like Gorse Hill. We can’t use the golf club or the elite social circles of Bowdon to influence our neighbourhood policing, we need our community officers; and frankly they’ve been brilliant. It’s great that Chief Constable Fahy has picked this up from the policing consultation. We’re going to have to defend policing that works because it’s clear the Tories are wildly out of touch.
Extracts from open Webchat with Chief Constable Peter Fahy
Is it true PCSOs are to be scrapped from 2013
Chief Constable Peter Fahy:
Our PCSOs have a distinct role which has proved very popular with the public. To give them additional powers would only take them away from this core role of engaging with the public and knowing the local community. They are dealing with the issues important to the public.
Their funding within the overall force budget is ring fenced until April 2013 and after that the Police and Crime Commissioner can decide whether he/she wants to increase or reduce the numbers but personally given the support that they have from the public and councillors I think they have a strong future.
What is your stance on PCSOs being moved to the private sector?
Chief Constable Peter Fahy:
I’m not aware of any force talking about the transfer of PCSOs to the private sector. It is not something we are considering in GMP. Obviously all of us would love to have more officers on the front line but there is a financial reality here. There are a number of officers in so-called back office roles who make full use of their police expertise for the benefit of the public such as in our intelligence units. We have moved a significant number of officers from office jobs on to the front line in recent months. Over recent years, there has been a political obsession with the numbers of police officers rather than looking at what they do. This is particularly so in the cases of metropolitan forces such as GMP.
Monday March 19, 2012 6:15 Chief Constable Peter Fahy
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