THE home secretary praised PCSOs and community wardens working in Portsmouth.
Theresa May’s comments came as she visited Southsea’s Havelock Community Centre on Friday.
Officers working in the city got a chance to speak to the Tory MP, who is responsible for policing, about their work.
Speaking to The News, Ms May said: ‘It’s making a real difference.
‘There are parts of Portsmouth that are better places to live as a result of the work they’ve been doing.’
Ms May was invited to the city by her party colleague Flick Drummond, who is standing for election in Portsmouth South in 2015.
Ms May added: ‘Flick wanted me to come and hear the good partnership working.
‘She felt there was a good example of some work here that’s had an impact.’
As reported in The News, the previous Liberal Democrat administration at the city council had looked at merging the community warden role with PCSOs.
That came after Hampshire police committed to keeping 333 PCSOs in the county but said it would axe 535 officer and staff posts as it is facing £25m of cuts.
Ms May said the government was leaving any decisions over PCSOs to police and crime commissioners.
Glenn Wilson was among the first batch of PCSOs when he started eight years ago.
He said: ‘It was nice to get our opinions across on how things have changed since I first started and allow her the opportunity to understand it from a grass-roots level.
‘It’s an integral role of policing in the community and what we do.
‘We provide a point of contact.
‘Officers are getting more and more busy.
‘They’re not able to get into the community to find out the issues.’
Other PCSOs said they were seen as more approachable than police officers as they did not wear protective clothing.
Gavin Brett has been a community warden for eight years. He covers Hilsea.
He said: ‘In those eight years I’ve dealt with people from the youngest right to the older generations who have had a lack of respect for people in uniform.’