PCSOs 'paid £7.8m to detect 50 crimes'

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The Independent Online

Police Community Support Officers in one force detected just 50 crimes and handed out only 122 fines last year despite costing £7.8 million in wages, it was revealed today.

The figures from Hampshire break down to a cost of £156,000 for each crime detected and £63,934 for each fine handed out by the 330 PCSOs, who were paid an average of £23,636 a year.



The statistics, obtained by the Southern Daily Echo, will continue the debate about the cost of PCSOs as forces across the country brace themselves for 25% budget cuts next month when the coalition Government announces its spending review.



Hampshire Chief Constable Alex Marshall has warned that a fifth of his force, or 1,400 jobs, could be axed and he has already refused to take a £22,500 bonus.



Campaign group the Taxpayers' Alliance said: "These figures show the sad truth about PCSOs - they are nothing but a PR stunt. Taxpayers want real bobbies on the beat, not these plastic policemen.



"With no powers of arrest and incredibly low productivity, it is hard to see how these PCSOs are value for money for taxpayers, or indeed useful.



But a statement from Hampshire Police said the primary function of the officers was not to detect crime but to be seen in the community.



Chief Inspector Jeremy Patterson said: "The role of a PCSO is to provide a visible presence on the streets and to engage with the community that they serve in.



"Therefore to judge their value in relation to the cost per crime detected or fixed penalty notice issued is not appropriate."



The figures obtained by the newspaper showed that in 2008/9 PCSOs detected 90 crimes and issued 124 fixed penalty notices.