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|Police force employs 16-year-olds
||Police force employs 16-year-olds
(about 12 hours later)
Two 16-year-olds have been recruited by a police force to work as community support officers (PCSOs).
It means the teenagers could be given powers to guard crime scenes, issue penalty notices or detain suspects until police officers arrive.
They will also be allowed to confiscate alcohol consumed in public despite being too young to drink and can direct traffic even though they cannot drive.
They are undergoing training for their new roles, said Thames Valley Police.
"I can confirm that we have two 16-year-old recruits. This is well within the regulations set out for PCSOs.
They reflect the community in which they serve, that includes all ages, genders and races Thames Valley Police spokesman
"These two young people have passed all the assessments and tests that PCSOs are required to undertake, and are now undergoing their training.
"They reflect the community in which they serve, that includes all ages, genders and races."
They are undergoing training after passing assessments a police spokesman said.
He added that they were not frontline police officers and as PCSOs were fulfilling a different role.
Unlike the police force, which has a minimum age requirement of 18, there is no age limit for PCSOs.
They are classed as civilians but unlike special constables the role is paid, although they do not have the same powers are regular police officers.
The government introduced community support officers five years ago to tackle low level crime and anti-social behaviour. They have been criticised as a way of policing on the cheap.
|A Home Office spokeswoman said: "PCSOs are an invaluable addition to the police forces.||A Home Office spokeswoman said: "PCSOs are an invaluable addition to the police forces.|
|"Police staff numbers are historically high and this, among other measures, has led to crime falling by a third over the last 10 years."||"Police staff numbers are historically high and this, among other measures, has led to crime falling by a third over the last 10 years."|