By Connie Osborne Tuesday 24 September 2013 Updated: 25/09 10:37
NEW powers will be given to Police Community Support Officers across the area in a bid to keep communities safe.
From September 30, more than 300 PCSOs in Warwickshire and West Mercia will be given more authority to form a key part of safer neighbourhood teams and work alongside police officers.
They currently have 20 standard powers and 21 discretionary powers which can be designated by a chief constable, as well as the authority to issue a number of fixed penalty notices.
But following feedback from communities and PCSOs themselves, they have now been granted additional powers.
These range from detaining individuals without the use of force, searching for drugs and dealing with truancy issues.
They have also been granted the ability to help with traffic obstruction offences and issue fixed penalty notices for a range of alcohol related offences.
As part of the changes the hours they work could also be extended, meaning they can now be deployed until midnight if required.
Gareth Morgan, assistant chief constable and lead for local policing at Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, said:
"By extending their powers and hours, we are formally recognising that PCSOs can and want to play a greater role in protecting our communities from harm.
"However, while extending the powers available, I have been very conscious of the need to maintain a clear distinction between the role of a PCSO and a police officer and every safer neighbourhood team will also have a police officer."
Bill Longmore, police and crime commissioner for West Mercia, said local policing was an important way of maintaining or increasing public reassurance and it was vital frontline officers have the right powers to do their job effectively.
"It has been obvious from the start that our PCSOs wanted more powers to allow them to do this and, when brought to the Chief Constable’s attention, he agreed to consider it and subsequently introduce it."
Ron Ball, police and crime commissioner for Warwickshire, added: "They are not police officers and we don't want them to be seen as such, but there has been a sense of frustration both from the public and from PCSOs themselves that they could do an even better job with a small increase in powers. I totally support the decision taken by both chief constables to provide those powers."
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