POLICE community support officers working in and around Worcester have not issued a single fixed penalty notice in the past year.

Figures released to your Worcester News under the Freedom of Information Act showed there are 60 CSOs working in the south Worcestershire division of West Mercia Police.

They do not have the power to arrest or charge people but can detain them until a police officer arrives and can issue fixed penalty notices for offences such as dog fouling, littering or cycling on a footpath, as well as traffic offences.

CSOs, who get a starting salary of £15,726 in West Mercia, can also issue notices for graffit or fly postering and also have the power to confiscate drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Penalty notices can also be handed out by CSOs for more serious offences, such as throwing fireworks, shoplifting or being drunk and disorderly. These notices can be issued to anyone over 16 years old.

However in the past year no fixed penalty notices were issued by CSOs in south Worcestershire.

The Home Office website says that the role of a CSO is to increase public safety and contribute to the regeneration of local communities. They are also given the task of supporting the work of the local police force and providing a visible and reassuring presence on the streets.

Andy White, chairman of the Police Federation for West Mercia, said: “There are a lot of good people doing CSO work but we would rather have fully warranted police officers on the streets who have the full powers to carry out their work - that is the what the public deserves.”

Chief Inspector Jerry Reakes-Williams, head of local policing in south Worcestershire, said issuing tickets was not a “key aspect” of the CSOs’ “role and focus”.

He said: “Our CSOs are widely respected in the local areas in which they work as well as among their colleagues and have become a part of their communities, gaining great local knowledge and support.

“They spend the vast majority of their time out and about in their communities as a visible presence in order to help tackle crime and keep levels low but also to engage with residents of all ages to help reduce anti-social behaviour.

“CSOs often play significant roles in major crime inquiries, as well as making a difference through projects they run and being a reassuring presence on the streets.”

How CSOs have helped out

Worcester CSO Anna Miller tracked down the organiser of a gathering at Diglis playing fields and told them to cancel it. Shen patrolled the area during the evening and deterred youths who had arrived in the area.

A CSO in Pershore recently investigated the whereabouts of a man suspected of a string of burglaries. He was subsequently arrested and is due in court this month.

Droitwich CSO Andrea Leslie has launched the Heriott Spartans Junior Angling Club aimed at stopping youngsters getting involved with anti-social behaviour.

A Worcester CSO caught an eight-year-old in a phone box with a can of spray paint before taking him back to his parents.

Worcester CSOs Amanda Watkins and Tash Harris raised more than £100 at a Help for Heroes fund-raising event.

Youths gathering at Northwick Lodge, Worcester, were told by local CSOs to meet at Northwick Lido where their presence would caused less concern.