PCSOs 'should be given power of arrest' says Mike Rumble
An independent candidate bidding to become police commissioner for the West Midlands wants police community support officers (PCSO) to have greater powers.
Mike Rumble, a former detective and businessman from Stourbridge, has entered November's election.
Commissioners will be elected in 41 areas across England and Wales and will have power over budgets, policing priorities and chief constables.
Mr Rumble said PCSOs should be able to arrest criminals.
He said: "In the times of austerity that we're facing at the moment with 20% police cuts it makes no sense at all to have a uniformed presence on the streets of the West Midlands who haven't got a power of arrest.
Mike Rumble is among several candidates for the police commissioner role in the West Midlands. Other confirmed contenders are Wolverhampton councillor Bob Jones who is Labour's candidate.
Next Wednesday, the Conservatives will choose between Solihull councillor and former policeman Joe Tildsley and Matt Bennett - a former Birmingham city councillor. Ray Egan, also known as John Bull, also an ex-policeman, has entered the race as an independent candidate.
The Liberal Democrats say they are still deciding, but it's likely they will put up a candidate. One of their former councillors who lost his seat at the local elections, barrister Ayoub Khan, says he would be interested if they did.
"If they got that power of arrest they'd be able to assist their police colleagues in more operations."
"At the moment the public know they don't have a power of arrest and those that don't abide by the law actually take advantage of that," he added.
Mr Rumble said he had discussed his plans with the Police Federation and said it was "open to the idea".
He is not keen that the force, along with its Surrey counterpart, is looking to bring private firms further into policing.
"It does make sense to free up the officers from backroom operations," Mr Rumble added. "But why do we have to give it to a private security company?
"We need accountability and openness and we're in a position we could do that ourselves.
"Hopefully the contract won't be signed off until after the police and crime commissioner elections and if I am elected I won't sign off that contract."
The commissioner elections are set to be held on 15 November.