POLICING in North Yorkshire has entered a new era with the appointment of 38 community support officers.

The officers will be deployed across the county and are part of Chief Constable Della Cannings' drive to put more people on the beat.

"They will provide high visibility foot patrols, providing reassurance and dealing with the type of nuisance and anti-social behaviour which blights communities and makes people's lives a misery," she said.

"Not only will everyone see the practical benefits from this work, it will also free up valuable time for regular police officers, enabling them to concentrate on other issues and improve the quality of the service we provide."

The support officers are to be deployed across the county with eight based in York, seven in Scarborough, six in Harrogate, five in Selby, four in Skipton, three in Hambleton, three in Ryedale, and two in Richmond.

They will be working a shift pattern between the hours of 8am and 10pm, seven days a week.

The recruits will complete three weeks of initial training, a one-week local procedure course, and then go on patrol for the first time on Monday, June 23, accompanied by a tutor.

Their powers include the right to issue fixed penalty notices for dropping litter, dog fouling and riding on the pavement.

They also have the authority to request the name and address of anyone acting in an anti-social manner, to deal with people drinking in a designated public area, and the power to confiscate alcohol, cigarettes and tobacco from young people.

They will also have the right to stop vehicles for a road check or to search in accordance with anti-terrorist legislation, and the power to direct and control traffic and pedestrians.

However, they will not have a power of arrest, which is so far only available to six selected police forces across the country who have this power as part of a trial scheme.

The Home Office has provided 50 per cent funding for 30 community officers. The rest of the money has been provided by North Yorkshire Police Authority.