PCSOs and city council warden roles could merge

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PLANS to merge the roles of community wardens and 
Police Community Support Officers in Portsmouth have been put forward.

City council leader, councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said the authority is considering the plan with Hampshire police.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We are looking at merging community wardens with police community support officers to create one group of people.

‘At the moment, we have a lot of people doing different things.

‘We want to create one group of people that looks after community safety instead of having one run by police and one run by the council.

‘We are making progress with it. We are in discussions with the other groups at the moment.

‘It will take a while to happen because it is mixing two groups of people from different organisations together.

‘We have got to get it right.

‘We don’t want to do something that won’t make a difference and improve the service.’

Community wardens are employed by the council to be the ‘eyes and ears of the community’.

They are uniformed officers who deal with issues such as anti-social behaviour, graffiti, fly-tipping and abandoned cars.

They also liaise with travellers when needed.

Meanwhile PCSOs are paid, uniformed officers who patrol areas and interact with the public. They do not have all of the same powers as police constables.

Asked if the plans are being put together to save money, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘Potentially it might save money.

‘The reason to do it is because it just seems illogical to have different groups of uniformed officers patrolling the city.

‘We will try to save management costs and protect the front-line people who are out patrolling.’

The council currently has 24 community officers across the city.

Hampshire police has said PCSO numbers in the county will remain at 333, as requested by police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes in response to public consultations.

But another 535 officer and staff posts are being axed forcewide as it battles to save an extra £25m by April 2017.