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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 13:58 GMT
New police mascot more 'diverse'
PCSO Steve
The original mascot was based on a real officer
A police mascot criticised for being too male and white will be replaced by more "ethnically diverse" models.

PSCO Steve was created by the Metropolitan Police to visit primary schools but drew criticism for failing to represent London's communities.

The Met will spend 15,000 in making three new characters.

The new costumes, expected to be ready early next year, include a woman PCSO, named Sunita, and a man and a woman police constable.

In a written response to questions from the London Assembly, Sir Ian Blair said: "These characters will be more representative of London's population and the diverse range of police personnel."

We seem to be taking the issue to the extreme, and pandering to every whim and gripe
Pc Geoff Parker

The original PCSO Steve costume was based on real-life Sutton borough police community support officer Stephen King.

Paid for by a 1,000 sponsorship deal with a local plumbing firm, the character proved a huge hit at schools and other public events.

In a letter to police in-house magazine The Job published today, one officer said the row could damage relations between the police and the public.

Pc Geoff Parker, who works in Islington, said: "One of the things that is damaging our job and our relations with the community is this constant overbearing political correctness.

"We seem to be taking the issue to the extreme, and pandering to every whim and gripe. We need to take a sensible approach to this and stop over-reacting."

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