MP calls for more powers for PCSOs in East Cambs and Fenland

MP Steve Barclay raises the issue of rogue landlords in the House of Commons

MP Steve Barclay raises the issue of rogue landlords in the House of Commons - Credit: Archant

POLICE community support officers should have their powers extended so they can free up the time of regular officers, an MP urged this week.

North East Cambridgeshire MP Steve Barclay called on Home Secretary Theresa May to bolster the range of powers available to PCSOs in response to feedback he had received from senior officers in his constituency.

Mr Barclay represents Little Downham, Littleport, Sutton and Mepal as well as Fenland towns March and Chatteris.

Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the new anti-social behaviour, crime and policing bill, Mr Barclay welcomed plans to grant PCSOs additional powers to direct an individual to leave an area.

He called on the Home Secretary to go further, however, and allow PCSOs to search for drugs and issue fines for cycling without lights.

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He said: “I want to press the minister to consider extending PCSO powers to take on other responsibilities. For example, a PCSO is able to seize drugs, but not search for them.

“They can search for alcohol and tobacco, and if they happen to find drugs during the course of those searches they can confiscate them, but if they can smell cannabis they are not allowed search for it; they have to divert the time of a warranted officer instead.

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“The feedback I receive from senior officers is that that is not an effective use of police time. Minor issues can also be annoying to officers. For example, a PCSO can issue a fixed penalty notice for cycling on a towpath but they cannot issue one for cycling without lights.

“If we follow the bill’s logic we will see that PCSOs could take on more powers in tackling antisocial behaviour and that that would free up police officer time.”

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