Extra traffic powers for Lincolnshire PCSOs
Chief Constable Bill Skelly has authorised extra powers for PCSOs in Lincolnshire following a review of the standard nationally set powers for PCSOs.
He said: “This has been part of our continuing effort to ensure we are making the best use of our existing resources."
Although powers are centrally set local Chief Constables have the authority to change the roles and responsibilities of their PCSOs over and above the 20 standard powers they automatically hold.
After a review into the way the 118 PCSOs work in Lincolnshire and how current resources can be maximised he said the extra powers will focus on traffic-related issues.
he explained: "I have decided to designate additional powers to our PCSOs which focus on traffic issues and relate directly to the ‘Fatal Four’ initiative and our commitment to tackling serious and fatal collisions on our road."
Mr Skelly says that PCSOs are the bedrock of neighbourhood policing and their links to their local communities are priceless.
“I’m keen that those existing relationships and ways of policing don’t disappear but shift more towards dealing with traffic-related issues. I am hopeful that a balance can be struck between carrying on with established responsibilities and also incorporating these new powers into the role of the PCSO.
"We know the areas where I’ve given extra powers are some of the most concerning to our communities and it is right that local officers can now tackle them direct, as well as alleviating pressure from other members of the force. All this helps us keep Lincolnshire as safe as possible.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones welcomes the news.
He said, “PCSOs provide a crucial service and are valued by communities across the county. I welcome any change which will broaden their powers and skills.
“Traffic offences are of great concern for many of our residents and, in addition to the new team launched earlier this year, PCSOs can play a vital role in keeping our roads and people safe.
“We must ensure we use the resources we have as effectively and efficiently as possible and this is another positive step in delivering on that goal.”
Although not a specific power, PCSOs will also be trained in and given the ability to record statements around certain issues, such as shop theft.
This will mean that time at the scene of a crime is better spent because one officer can deal with everything, and evidence will be of a better quality, which is more likely to lead to a successful prosecution.
Because this initiative is about upskilling the force using existing resources there is no financial cost, only the time taken to train PCSOs in the new powers.
This is expected to take a maximum of three days per officer and they will not adopt the new powers for use until the training is completed.
The standard PCSO powers come from the Anti-social behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
The five force priorities include:
Highly visible community patrols that provide direct access to policing services and public reassurance.
Community engagement opportunities aimed at maximising problem-solving policing.
Ownership of crime and Anti-Social Behaviour issues that impact on the local community.
Provide appropriate levels of support to policing whilst continuing to deliver the PCSO role.
Encourage and develop multi-agency and partnership initiatives to reduce ASB/crime and support communities.
Although not a specific power, PCSOs will also be trained in and given the ability to record low level statements around certain issues, such as shop theft. This will mean time at the scene of a crime is better spent because one officer can deal with everything, and evidence will be of a better quality, which can lead to an effective prosecution.
Because this initiative is about upskilling the force using existing resources there is no financial cost, rather the cost will be in the time taken to train PCSOs in the new powers. This is expected to take a maximum of three days per officer.
The additional powers will authorise the issue of traffic offence reports for:
Section 14 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Seatbelt for adults
Section 15 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Seatbelt for children
Section 16 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Motorcycles – no protective headgear
Section 47 Road Traffic Act 1988 – No MOT
Section 89 Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 – Speeding in a motor vehicle
Regulation 103 Roads Vehicles (construction and use) Regulations 1986 – Unnecessary Obstruction of the highway
Regulation 110 Roads Vehicles (construction and use) Regulations 1986 – Use of mobile phones when in control of a vehicle
Powers to support the issuing of traffic offence reports. These are:
Section 163 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Power to stop motor vehicles*
Section 164 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Require the production of a driving licence
Section 165 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Require the production of valid insurance and test certificate
Section 165A Road Traffic Act 1988 – Power to seize a motor vehicle with no insurance
Section 87 Road Traffic Act 1988 – Report for the offence of driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence
*Note - this will only be used whilst on foot and not from a police vehicle.