The chief constable for Northamptonshire Police has revealed details of a trial which will see the powers for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) extended to tackle parking obstructions.
From April, for a trial period, 23 PCSOs across the Kettering borough will be able to issue fixed penalty notices and arrange removal of vehicles causing obstruction.
The powers are designated under the Road Traffic Regulation Act, sections 95-96 and are delegated to each PCSO individually by the chief constable.
The new powers are in addition to their existing ones which include powers to issue fixed penalty notices for littering, requiring people under 18 to surrender alcohol and powers to seize drugs.
Chief constable Adrian Lee said: “PCSOs are a hugely valuable part of the Northamptonshire Police team and work extremely hard getting to know and support their local communities.
“They play a crucial role in increasing the visibility of policing across the county and building the confidence of local people.
“Communities in turn regularly tell us how much they appreciate their PCSOs and the difference they make.
“They have however told us about examples where having greater powers would enable the PCSO to deliver a more complete service.
“With parking obstructions regularly identified as a local priority, PCSOs themselves were keen to increase their powers in this area.”
The Road Traffic Regulation Act is decriminalised in some areas of the county, meaning enforcement comes under the remit of the borough or district council rather than the police.
Kettering and Daventry remain criminalised which is why the trial is taking place in Kettering.
The act states that parking obstructions are where there is “reasonable cause to believe than an offence has been committed in respect of a vehicle obstructing a road, or waiting, or being left or parked, or being loaded or unloaded, in a road.”
PCSOs have worked alongside officers across Northamptonshire for the past 10 years.
The primary role of PCSOs is to enhance community policing, provide a reassuring presence on the streets, build relationships with communities and work with communities and partner agencies to resolve issues they may be facing.