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COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICERS: RESPONDING TO THE HOME AFFAIRS SELECT COMMITTEE REPORT

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Responding to the home affairs select committee report on the Police ...
Responding to the home affairs select committee report on the Police

Reform Bill, home office minister John Denham said today:

'The Police Reform Bill is an essential part of the government's

police reform programme, aimed at further reducing crime and the fear

of crime and raising the performance of the police service as a

whole.

'The driving force for Community Support Officers (CSO's) has come

from the police themselves, in particular the Metropolitan Police

Service. I am pleased that the committee has recognised that CSO's

could play an important part in supporting the police and that the

powers we are proposing should be tested. CSO's will not be police

officers; they will perform a separate, but important function. In

addition we will continue to increase police numbers - we currently

have record levels and are on target to reach our pledge of 130,000

by spring next year.

'CSO's have a vital role to play in visible patrolling, tackling low

level crime and anti-social and yobbish behaviour. They will free up

officers time allowing them back onto the frontline. They will have

limited specific powers, such as issuing fixed penalty notices, to

help them effectively carry out this role. We will reintroduce powers

of detention for CSO's into the Bill in the commons as we believe

these are vital for their effectiveness.

'Everyone has the right to expect high standards of policing -

wherever they live. The government remains convinced that powers to

tackle persistent poor performance are required. I note the

committee's welcome for the extra safeguards for these powers that we

have proposed. Our intention is reintroduce the powers, with these

safeguards, in the commons.

'I welcome the committee's support for a more effective and

independent system to deal with serious complaints against the police

which the IPCC will offer.'

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