Page last updated at 23:57 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 00:57 UK

PCSOs have 'low impact' on crime

Police community support officer
Kent Police said they were using PCSOs in a constructive way

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in Kent appear to have little impact on crime and spend too much time in the office, according to a report.

The study by Kent Police said that there was "little relationship between the presence of a PCSO and a reduction in crime".

But it did say the officers, which cost less than police constables, helped reduced the fear of some crimes.

Kent Police Federation said money needed to be spent on "real officers".

The report also stated that PCSOs did "not appear to be the best option currently for reducing negative perceptions of anti-social behaviour".

'Experiment failed'

It did point out however that they increased reassurance and helped reduce the worry about certain types of crime.

Ian Pointon, the chairman of Kent Police Federation, said: "This is about the role. The role simply doesn't exist and this report shows that the role does not exist.

"It shows the experiment has failed and it should be ended before more public money is wasted. That money should be spent on real police officers."

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Harris said: "We're using PCSOs in a constructive way within our neighbourhood policing teams.

"Over time people will have seen more officers on the ground - a uniform presence - and the role of the PCSO fits into that model."

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