The Met Police HR chief has insisted that the majority of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are not “bored”, despite proof they carried out half the acts of ‘gross misconduct’ recorded at the force last year.
A report investigating staff discipline at the largest UK police force, published by the Metropolitan Police Authority this week, revealed that 35 of the 64 acts of gross misconduct, recorded last year, were committed by PCSOs.
Driving-related issues, including drink-driving, were among the most frequent offences. Computer misuse, inappropriate behaviour or conduct, false allegation, and misuse of Met Police property, also featured in the report.
HR director Martin Tiplady said that in some cases, a minority of PCSOs do not get to patrol the streets as often as they would like. Rarely, a few officers get bored as a result, he said.
“Some of the PCSOs not working the boroughs may get bored,” he told Personnel Today. “But the last thing I’m saying is that we have 4,500 glorified security guards.”
The vast majority of PCSOs, he explained, were stimulated by the role, contrary to media reports. “I have a good view of PCSOs and we deal with discipline robustly,” he said.
Twenty PCSOs have been dismissed since the report came out, while 15 received formal reprimands.
PCSOs are members of the public put in place to provide support for regular police officers, and make up 22% of the total Metropolitan Police staff workforce. They help increase the visual presence of police officers, but a minority can also help out with paperwork.
“As stewards of public funds, we regard it as essential to identify the underlying causes of problems so we can deal with them and improve our service to the public,” added Tiplady.