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PCSO to be sentenced for child sex offences

A former police community support officer will be sentenced in York today after previously admitting child sex offences. Gary Hastings, 48, of Wright Street, Hull, pleaded guilty at York Crown Court last month to seven counts of sexual activity with two boys.

The court was told the offences took place between November 2007 and August 2010. A spokeswoman for Humberside Police said at the time: "Gary Hastings was suspended in August 2011 following an investigation by the Humberside Police professional standards branch.

"He later tendered his resignation, which came into effect at the end of January 2012 and is therefore no longer an employee of Humberside Police. He commenced employment as a PCSO in north-east Lincolnshire in March 2008 after undergoing standard vetting procedures for this role."

Chief Constable on PCSOs

The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police has given his thoughts to proposals to give PCSOs more powers.

Police officers will remain visible in the community and continue to work in the same areas that they do now. PCSOs will continue their valuable role working alongside police officers and special constables in safer neighbourhood teams working in communities as they always have done. Our proposal is that we enhance their powers so that they can deal with more incidents that don't require a police constable with the powers of arrest.

– Chief Constable David Crompton, South Yorkshire Police

Reaction to PCSOs

We have been getting reaction to plans to extend the powers of PCSOs in South Yorkshire.

This is the real consequence of the Government cutting 16,000 police officers - including 430 in South Yorkshire. Neighbourhood policing was one of the best things to be introduced by the Labour government where both police officers and PCSOs worked together with local communities to cut crime.

– Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary

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  1. Michael Billington

PCSO's to patrol the "frontline", under plans

Out on patrol: Police officers in Yorkshire Credit: Calendar

Plans to extend the powers of PCSO's in South Yorkshire are being announced today. They would become the first line of contact with the police for the public, and would become known as Local Beat Officers.

Some have already received training to help them deal with ‘grass-roots’ calls to allow Police officers to work on more serious incidents. The plans have been criticised by David Blunkett, the MP for Sheffield Brightside & Hillsborough and former Home Secretary.