David Barrett
London Telegraph
March 21, 2010

More than 2,000 police community support officers have been investigated for misconduct and more than 160 charged with criminal offences since the role was created, it can be revealed.

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Figures obtained from police forces show that there has been roughly one inquiry for every seven of the civilian patrollers now employed, for alleged rule-breaking ranging from criminal activity to rudeness.

The findings will add to criticism of PCSOs, who have been controversial since they were introduced in 2002 by then-home secretary David Blunkett as a cheaper alternative to regular officers.

Supporters say they offer a reassuring uniformed presence on the streets, but critics – including many regular officers – have branded them “plastic policemen” or “CHIMPS”, which stands for “completely hopeless in most policing situations”.

Full article here

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