People think they are a joke and they are commonly percieved as not being able to do much with their "limited power"
With further cuts announced why can't the current gov simply make the PCSO role completely redundant within a 12 month time frame and encourage investment in further actual Police Officer numbers as well as boosting the viability of the Special Constabulary and other volunteer roles.
Retraining wouldn't go amiss for those desiring to re-allocate to the role of a Constable and I'm sure the experiance of those numbers with over 5 years on the ground in community policing with fair quite well and would be welcomed.
A Police Community Support Officer is not a police officer in the sense and as such should not be interpreted as such.
I'm surprised they weren't binned years ago, there is alot of emphasis on community policing and guess what, we need actual police on the beat now more than ever rather than "Police Staff".
Think of the little impact they have and the cost to benefit ratio.
I'd argue the whole policing on the cheap concept was a farce to begin with, and I'm surprised it hasn't happened already.
It's not a tough choice really and their own numbers are dwindling as it is.