NEW police community support officer recruits have hit the streets of East Lancashire after completing the latest phase of their training.

The latest 22 PCSOs join more than 100 of their colleagues in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Rossendale, Pendle and Hyndburn.

The new officers started in their communities yesterday after six and a half weeks training at the Police headquarters in Hutton where they received training on safeguarding, procedure and personal safety.

The latest phase of their training is set to last five weeks’ and will involve them shadowing experienced PCSOs and community beat managers.

The nine women and 13 men have now joined their neighbourhood policing teams full-time and will undertake their training ahead of further competency tests.

It is understood they have filled vacant posts rather than take up newly created positions. None of the new PCSOs have been stationed in the Ribble Valley.

Chief superintendent Chris Bithell said: “It’s positive news for the whole of East Division that we have 22 new recruits now in their communities. It’s important that we have a visible presence in the community and PCSOs perform a very important function for the service. I have always stressed my commitment to PCSOs across Lancashire.

“The aim for our PCSOs is that the public trust them and feel able to contact them if they need to.”

Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “I know how much communities value their PCSOs, and the vital support they provide our local policing teams.

“I am delighted these new PCSOs are ready to start work in their communities, and I hope local residents will see the benefits.”