Wider powers for PCSOs are given cautious welcome by Grantham councillor

Picture: Allan Hutchins
Picture: Allan Hutchins
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PCSOs in the county have been given “a full suite of powers” by the Chief Constable which gives them almost as many powers as police constables.

Police Community Support Officers cannot arrest somebody but they can detain people and if they are resisted that is an offence.

Chief Con Neil Rhodes Tweeted last week: “Lincs PCSOs now have full suite of powers, except power to detain by force. We have some top people as PCSOs. Over recent years I’ve gained real confidence in their capacity and capability. Hence wide powers.”

PCSOs have standard powers but Chief Constables can designate extra powers if they feel they are ncessary.

But South Kesteven District Council’s representative on the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel says he fears the new powers could bring PCSOs into more dangerous siutations.

Coun Ray Wootten said: “I give a cautious welcome to the news that the Chief Constable has increased PCSO powers.

“We have some excellent Community Support Officers in Grantham, however their original role was one of being the eyes and ears of the community. I can understand why the Chief Constable has done this with his dwindling resources although I am concerned this would mean that PCSOs could end up dealing with confrontational situations for which they are not trained.

“I see their role as Neighbourhood Support Officers withering on the vine.”

Among the designated powers given to PCSOs in the county are the power to seize drugs and to search for alcohol and tobacco. They can also disperse groups and remove people under 16 to their homes. With regard to terrorism offences PCSOs can enforce cordoned areas and stop and search in authorised areas.