Police community support officers have a role that is distinct from police special constables, community wardens and traffic wardens – their job is to support the police specifically in issues affecting the community’s quality of life e.g. antisocial behaviour. It’s unfortunately indicative of the growing violence in society that PCSO’s in Staffordshire will this month be wearing stab vests for the first time according to the BBC .
Understandably, some of the PCSO’s involved feel that this presents the wrong image. However there are stabvests on the market that are more subtle so it’s not immediately obvious that the wearer is wearing a stab vest. I also think that there’s an expectation these days that police-related authority figures will be wearing stab vests – the public understand that there’s a growing minority of criminals out there who do present a risk, and the police and PCSO’s who put themselves in harms way need to be protected accordingly.