LAST month, our Police Now, Neighbourhood Beat Officer, PC Georgia Mansfield, introduced herself and explained her role.
In On the Beat this month I want to introduce our team of Police Community Support Officers – or PCSOs as they are more commonly known.
Most of you will have seen our PCSOs walking around Royton, Shaw and Crompton and might wonder, ‘What do they do?’ This month I’ll tell you all about them.
PCSOs were first introduced in Greater Manchester Police in 2002 and have now become an established part of Neighbourhood Policing.
They are often seen as the public face of policing and provide a link between the police and the communities they serve.
In the Royton, Shaw and Crompton Neighbourhood Policing Team we have seven PCSOs – three covering Royton, two in Shaw and two in Crompton.
Our team has worked in the area for many years and built up a great knowledge of your neighbourhood.
Through their work in the community they have developed strong working relationships with key individuals such as business owners and partners, helping to make the area a better and safer place to live.
The primary role of a PCSO is to provide a high visibility presence in the community, mainly on foot or on a bike. Sometimes, in rural parts of the neighbourhood, in a vehicle.
Often, warranted Police Officers like myself do not have the time to patrol on foot and therefore PCSOs are the essential ‘eyes and ears’ of the community to gather intelligence, provide reassurance and to speak to local residents about issues affecting their neighbourhood.
However, they are not just here to walk around all day. They are involved in much more than that.
A typical day will include conducting house to house and CCTV enquiries following reports of crime, providing reassurance to victims of minor crimes and anti-social behaviour and working with communities to solve local problems including visits to schools to engage with youths.
They may also be involved with carrying out low-level missing person enquiries, protecting crime scenes until police officers arrive and working with community watch schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch.
Unlike warranted officers, PCSOs are civilian members of police staff and therefore do not possess the full range of powers that police officers possess.
That said, they are a vital asset to our team and are authorised to deal with minor offences under powers granted by the Chief Constable.
PCSOs can seize vehicles, carry out checks and control traffic, they can seize drugs, alcohol and tobacco and require a person to give their name and address. Fixed penalty notices can also be issued for a number of low-level offences.
PCSOs are equipped with body armour but they do not possess the baton, handcuffs and CS spray that police officers carry.
They are, therefore, not expected to place themselves into situations where conflict is likely to occur.
However, sometimes incidents can spontaneously take place and for that reason they are provided with safety training to deal with these situations.
PCSOs have the power to use reasonable force in defence of themselves or another and in some circumstances may detain people until an officer arrives.
As a neighbourhood team, we still run regular market stalls (in Royton) and stalls within certain retail premises in Shaw to give people the opportunity to come and meet their PCSOs and to discuss issues you wish to speak about.
Our PCSOs are always happy to speak to you so please say hello when you bump into them!
PC Paul Rainsford, Neighbourhood Beat Officer (Royton, Shaw and Crompton NPT)