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PCSO Shortage 'Until October'

Drive to recruit PCs from PCSOs will mean a lack of community officers throughout Olympics

The Metropolitan Police will be unable to replace PCSOs who took advantage of the internal recruitment drive to become PCs until well after the Olympics are over.

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said the force would not be in a position to recruit new community support officers because the training school would remain closed until October to free up resources for the Games.

The senior officer told members of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee the force would then start the PCSO recruitment process once again.

As previously reported on PoliceOracle.com Met had its largest ever passing out parade earlier this month of 567 new regular officers – all former special constables or PCSOs.

Commissioner Hogan-Howe said: “There are PCSO gaps. When we tried to recruit police officers a lot of them were PCSOs. So we had a surge officers and it left gaps behind.

“We are now trying to fill those gaps by recruiting PCSOs. But I can't see that being resolved until about October because the training school isn't open until then.”

Commissioner Hogan-Howe said closing the training school, along with halving the amount of annual leave, was a deliberate measure to have officers available during the Olympics.

He said officers were being placed on longer “Olympic shifts” and some overtime was being paid, covered by a government security grant, to limit the impact of neighbourhood policing.

CC Hogan-Howe added PCSOs, unlike PCs, would remain in their neighbourhood policing areas and would not be moved around the capital to deal with other issues if the need arose.

Committee member Steve O'Connell said he felt the lack of PCSOs was stretching the public goodwill.

He said: “I genuinely believe the goodwill of the public is being stretched when they don't see the officers on those streets. PCSOs were going to be that constant factor in the neighbourhoods (during the Olympics).”

The Commissioner said: “I am confident we will meet the needs of the public. We will keep our neighbourhood commitments going but it will be a strain, there's no doubt.”

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