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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

It is what you do as well as the way you do it: the value and deployment of PCSOs in achieving public engagement

Cosgrove, Faye and Ramshaw, Pauline (2015) It is what you do as well as the way you do it: the value and deployment of PCSOs in achieving public engagement. Policing and Society, 25 (1). pp. 77-96. ISSN 1043-9463

Item Type: Article


Resurgent efforts to reconnect the police with local communities and encourage more positive engagement with the public gained momentum over the last decade in England and Wales in the recent move from community to neighbourhood
policing. Drawing on data from two ethnographic studies conducted in two English forces, one with a community police team and the other across two neighbourhood policing teams, this paper considers whether neighbourhood
policing, specifically the introduction of police community support officers (PCSOs), has achieved more meaningful engagement where its predecessors have struggled, or whether the obstacles and pitfalls that have hindered previous models remain. It demonstrates that PCSOs are achieving more inclusive engagement in local communities, but their efforts are mitigated by their structured position in the organisation, aspirations to become police officers and the organisational environment in which they work. In light of such constraints, we argue that the capacity of PCSOs to break down barriers between
the police and disaffected members of local communities and facilitate more representative public participation in policing would be greatly enhanced if they are driven by crime prevention and capacity building rather than crime control imperatives.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: community policing, engagement, crime control, PCSOs
Depositing User: Faye Cosgrove


Item ID: 5590
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1043-9463
Official URL:

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Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2015 14:00
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2021 12:30


Author: Faye Cosgrove
Author: Pauline Ramshaw

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society


Social Sciences > Criminology
Social Sciences > Sociology

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