Published on Apr 13, 2012
POLICE STATE UK - Police Being Replaced By Private Security?
The chief constable of South Yorkshire Police has denied reports his force is taking police off the beat and replacing them with community officers.
David Crompton said that, far from diluting front line policing, he was strengthening it.
But his words have failed to pacify some critics who believe the force is planning "policing on the cheap".
The controversy follows a "rebranding" of police community support officers in South Yorkshire as the public's first point of contact.
But Mr Crompton said reports of the proposals had created a "storm in a teacup".
PCSOs and their powers: :: They have no power of arrest, except by citizen's arrest. :: They are not allowed to investigate crimes or interview and process suspects. :: They only receive a short training course - as opposed to police constables - who need two years. :: They do not carry out the more complex and high-risk tasks that police officers perform.
Police community support officers
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett, who introduced PCSOs, raised concerns about the plans.
"Community support officers are intended to be part of neighbourhood beat teams and not a replacement for them, " he said.
"It would be deeply regrettable if we reverted to the Z-Cars era of flying squads and concentration on reaction rather than prevention."
It is proposed that PCSOs in the county will become known as local beat officers (LBOs) but will continue to have fewer powers than a warranted constable.
Mr Crompton said: "Reports suggesting that this would result in less police officers on the beat are inaccurate. Police officers will remain visible in the community and continue to work in the same areas that they do now.
"PCSOs will continue their valuable role working alongside police officers and special constables in safer neighbourhood team working in communities as they always have done.
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