Thames Valley Police have recruited the services of two 16-year-olds to work as community support officers (PCSOs), saying: “If you are good enough, you are old enough.”
The teenagers will undergo training for the role, having passed all the assessments and tests that PCSOs are required to undertake, and could be given powers to guard crime scenes, issue penalty notices and patrol city areas to reassure the public.
A spokesman for Thames Valley police said: “We have recruited these people because they demonstrated the skills that we need. They bring experience of being able to interact with the public – especially young people. If you are good enough, you are old enough.
“There is no reason in law why PCSOs who are under 18 cannot exercise powers under the Police Reform Act, and being able to drive is not a requirement to become a PCSO,” he said.
The Home Office last year recommended therefore that police forces do not apply a minimum age on recruitment for PCSOs.
The government introduced community support officers to combat low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.