Published: 19:54, 21 November 2019
| Updated: 20:24, 21 November 2019
Extra powers have been given to police community support officers (PCSOs) working in Kent.
Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott confirmed the move during a public meeting at County Hall in Maidstone today.
Four new powers were given, including the right to search a person for alcohol and tobacco and dispersing groups of people aged under 16 to their home, a KCC committee was told.
Others include allowing PCSOs to issue fixed penalty notices for dog fouling, graffiti and fly-posting, and powers to manage begging and homelessness.
Mr Scott said: "I will be asking for an assessment on the effectiveness of these new powers, whether or not they are being used and whether the police wish to increase the rest of the powers available."
His comments came during Kent and Medway's police and crime panel.
Police considered granting PCSOs more authority in dealing with parking problems around local schools, but Mr Scott said that had proved too legally difficult to implement.
Arresting offenders will not be among any of the new powers for PCSOs, which would require approval from the Home Office, Mr Scott added.
The Kent police and crime commissioner told the committee: "I'm glad that we are not just giving PCSOs more powers, but different responsibilities, such as around crime prevention and supporting the victims as well."
This change has come after Mr Scott recently asked for a review with Kent's chief constable, Alan Pughsley, to give greater enforcement powers to PCSOs, the committee was told.
Chief constables hold discretion powers to give PCSOs extra authority, if felt needed or required.
Swale councillor Richard Palmer, of Swale Independents Alliance, was satisfied and said: "I think you have covered the subject quite well."
His comments came after asking Mr Scott about PCSO powers during the public meeting.
Cllr Palmer asked: "Has Mr Scott considered the potential in encouraging the chief constable to increase the number of policing powers available to PCSOs?"
He added: "To allow them to undertake a broader range of activities."
More by this authorCiaran Duggan, local democracy reporter
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