Support police officers have started their new role with enhanced powers and skills.
With the new advantages to deal with a wide range of local problems, the Police Community Support Officers can act to resolve issues such as alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour.
Assistant Chief Constable of Sussex Police Laurence Taylor said: “The PCSO role has evolved since it was introduced 13 years ago with the specific aim to be visible in the community; and they will continue to conduct patrols. However these patrols will be targeted to areas where they know they can make a difference.
“They will be helping prevent crimes such as burglary and anti-social behaviour and complete tasks in ways that are proven to reduce crime and keep people safe.”
They will be an integral part of larger teams solving local problems, carrying out basic investigations, working alongside partners and directly with witnesses and victims to respond to community issues. Making use of mobile technology, PCSOs will access information whilst out in the community.
The flexible nature of their new role means they can work when and where they are needed, logging on remotely, as well as working from police and shared premises.
ACC Taylor said: “Accessibility is important to me.
“It’s important that communities can speak to their PCSOs and police officers when they need them or if they have information to pass on. Now they will have a team to access rather than one individual. Every area within Sussex will have a team to contact – by phone, email or via the web.
“Should there be a need, supervisory officers will have autonomy to move PCSOs to the places where they are needed most. These are in addition to our 999 response and investigations teams. This means all areas in Sussex will have access to a full range of force, regional and national policing services.
“Whilst our newly recruited PCSOs complete their training, teams will be supported by constables within local teams and, in some areas, new police constables who will be out training in the community.”
ACC Taylor added: “The new role of the PCSO has been specifically developed in line with changing demands in policing and reshaping our service to make it as effective as possible to meet the needs of the local community.
“Sussex Police faces the challenge of operating with new demands against a shrinking budget, however, the force is determined to make policing services more effective, rather than less so.
“PCSOs, who are supported by constables with enforcement capabilities, are one of a number of layers of policing that work to prevent, respond to and investigate crime.
“The new policing model for Sussex is focused on protecting vulnerable people and catching criminals. We will always be there when people need us.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne said: “Like most Sussex residents I highly value the work and importance of PCSOs and their contribution to the local policing teams.
“However, community policing in Sussex has remained unchanged for more than a decade, and coupled with the changing nature of crime, a different policing response is required along with new methods of investigation and forensic analysis. This is why I support all officers, including PCSOs, being trained and equipped with the necessary skills to continue to keep our communities safe.
“As PCC I will continue to scrutinise Sussex Police and represent the public’s views, to ensure that the Chief Constable’s new local policing model maintains public confidence and reassurance, whilst delivering an effective and efficient police service.”