Hundreds of police support workers prepare for the beat

26 Sep 02
Home Secretary David Blunkett has pledged to put more than 1,000 community support officers (CSOs) on the beat within months.

27 September 2002

Twenty-seven forces have applied for a share of the £19m set aside by the government for the CSOs. The Metropolitan Police is the first to recruit the auxiliaries. The capital will eventually have 500 CSOs undertaking security patrols and complementing community policing.

The London CSOs have undergone a three-week training course and will carry Met radios but not truncheons, handcuffs or CS spray. The Police Reform Act allows chief officers to give them limited powers to deal with antisocial behaviour and disorder which includes the power of detention for 30 minutes.

Blunkett said: 'CSOs will play a complementary role to police officers in tackling disorder and antisocial behaviour and carrying out routine patrols to increase visible policing and provide reassurance to the public.'

But the introduction of the auxiliaries has ruffled a few feathers among the ranks of orthodox police officers.

Sir David Phillips, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, has said that the move has 'little merit'.

'Very few of my colleagues are enthusiastic. The money would be better spent on more police officers,' he said.


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