POLICE community support officers operate at “the sharp end” in Swansea and should have more powers, a councillor has said.
Peter Black was speaking at a council scrutiny meeting in which the priorities and achievements of the Safer Swansea Partnership – a multi-agency initiative aimed at keeping people safe – were being discussed.
Addressing chief superintendent Martin Jones, of South Wales Police, who was at the meeting, Cllr Black said his Cwmbwrla ward had three “excellent” PCSOs and a very good constable.
But he said the constable was sometimes deployed to other parts of Swansea.
“It’s very rare to have a warranted officer,” said Cllr Black. “PCSOs are the ones at the sharp end these days.
“At what stage are the powers available to PCSOs going to be reviewed? And will they be given additional powers?”
Mr Jones said the force’s chief constable was “regularly looking” at this matter.
But he said: “I don’t think there is a seachange to give more powers.
“Will we continue to review the powers? Absolutely.”
According to South Wales Police’s website, PCSOs have 20 powers such as issuing fixed penalty notices. But the list does not include the power of arrest.
Cllr Black also claimed the public had no confidence in reporting incidents via South Wales Police’s 101 line.
The Liberal Democrat councillor said a 10-minute wait he faced to discuss an ongoing fire at a school with 101 was “a record”.
Mr Jones said about 85% of 101 calls were answered within one or two minutes, but that the system faced peaks in demand.
He added: “I am not going to say it’s perfect.”