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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 08:21 GMT 09:21 UK
Bid to recruit support officers
Police community support officers
PCSOs can get a salary of 25,000-a-year
The Metropolitan Police is staging a week of open days to encourage people to become community police officers.

It needs 1,500 more recruits to ensure it can roll out the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams - a key part of commissioner Ian Blair's plans.

The teams have three normal officers and three police community support officers (PCSOs) working in one area.

The open days start on Monday and are being held at the Wimbledon Library Gallery, in south London.

A PCSO can receive a salary of up to 25,000-a-year, depending on your circumstances, get free travel on London's buses and the possibility of flexible working hours.

Same powers

The open days are also part of a wider specials recruitment drive. The Met hopes to recruit up to 1,400 Special Constables during the next year.

PCSOs usually work around eight hours every week. It is unpaid, though volunteers do receive free travel both on and off duty on London transport.

Specials receive full training, both in the classroom and have exactly the same powers as regular police officers, who they assist in policing crime hotspots and major public events.

Chief Supt Steve Bloomfield, Head of Safer Neighbourhoods, said: "Specials have a real role to play in reducing crime and keeping the public safe and they are an important link between the police and the community.

"It increases our uniformed presence on the streets of London and when Specials aren't in uniform they are the eyes and ears on the ground".

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