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Police: Community Support Officers

Volume 461: debated on Monday 11 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps his Department has taken to promote public awareness of the difference between police officers and police community support officers. (140198)

[holding answer 4 June 2007]: The Home Office has focused on raising public awareness of the new role of police community support officers (PCSOs) and neighbourhood policing teams, which are now being implemented across England and Wales. A successful national PCSO recruitment campaign in 2006 was designed not only to encourage applications but also to help explain the role of a PCSO. This campaign included television and radio adverts, poster campaigns and national and local press advertising.

In addition, a six-part documentary series followed the work of PCSOs in Lancashire and the Thames Valley. The series ran between October and December 2006 on ITV (England) and achieved an average audience of 2.3 million rising to 3 million. All of this activity has raised the profile of PCSOs and the neighbourhood policing teams in which they serve. It has also supported the police service in their drive to increase PCSO numbers to 16,000 across England and Wales.

Neighbourhood policing teams will consist of police sergeants, constables and PCSOs, and may also comprise special constables, wardens, neighbourhood managers, housing managers, youth workers and other community partners, depending on the needs and priorities of the community that the team serves. In promoting neighbourhood policing teams the Home Office and the police service has celebrated the diverse and complementary nature of the various ranks and roles within these teams which join together to provide a visible and accessible service to the communities they serve.