LETTER: PCSOs play a key role in our communities

I read with interest the article on Tony Harper, the Conservative candidate for the post of Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Some of his assertions which featured in the article were misleading.

Many of the volunteers who formerly were aiming for full time positions with the police force have left because they knew there was very little prospect of recruitment owing to government cuts.

This shortfall has been taken up by law students who have to “volunteer” for many hours a month in order to qualify.

Are these legal conscripts, the Specials engaged in “nuisance” activities highlighted by Tony Harper?

According to Mr Harper PCSOs do not work a standard 9 to 5, but deliberate or otherwise this assertion is misleading.

Police officers on average earn a much more substantial basic pay but PCSOs earn enhanced overtime payments which are often entirely justified when the operational requirements are thus.

It is a myth that private is always better because close scrutiny often proves otherwise.

Wrongly the Conservatives were historically seen as the party of law and order, with an over emphasis at policing from a safe distance (panda cars etc.) which resulted in a deterioration of neighbourhood policing prior to New Labour’s strong and intelligent attempt to correct this deficiency.

Police vehicles are of course important nor does all police work require engagement with the general public, but prior to the creation of the PCSO role there WAS a dangerous distance between elements of the police and the people they serve.

It is vital that the police have a good relationship with people who have valuable intelligence regarding criminality. Much of this is gleaned from ordinary members of the public.

Concentrated efforts relating to low-level crime also impacts on more serious criminality and although murder is evidently a more serious offence than say vandalism……vandalism, noise and harassment DO cause intense misery to members of the general public.

Simplistic cost cutting WILL affect people’s quality of life and may promote increased criminality or inaccurate recording of crime.

It is a myth PCSOs have no value and do not provide effective support for the police, political misinformation rather than fact.

Those of us with memories will remember issues around G4S which necessitated the use of armed forces personnel during the Olympics.

Will Tony Harper’s innovations recruit the services of G4S or any other private company?

Professional competence is paramount….translated that means the quality of evidence is not compromised or corrupted.

The police are adequately resourced to produce effective and just law and order.

The highest quality and integrity of the police is maintained with effective screening and recruitment, and that high quality staff are paid appropriately given the intense demands and specialist knowledge and related expertise.

Savings and efficiencies can be made but decreased quality of service is likely if changes are made lacking intelligence for shallow reasons or simplistic prejudice.

Effective Law and Order is of prime importance and as with anything ….quality costs.

Lastly Paddy Tipping does have significant experience regarding policing as he is the current nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

He also has strong interpersonal skills which are necessary to lead the Nottinghamshire Constabulary given the challenges faced.

This requires strong intellectual prowess which requires a strong problem solving capacity and above all integrity.

Yes finances are important but so is operational effectiveness and integrity, and in all this Paddy is your man in my view.

Concerned North Notts


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