PCSOs: Men Or Mice?

So we have this new sort of Plod, the police community service officer. No powers of arrest, not allowed to interviewpeople: they are there to provide a uniformed body on the streets. So given that they don\’t actually solve crimes, catch crooks, you\’d like to think that they do the \”community\” part of policing, yes? Helping old ladies across the road, taking lost children home…hey, how about helping some kid drowning in a pond? Community enough?

A police leader has called community support officers a \”failed experiment\” which should be abandoned, after it emerged that two PCSOs stood by as a boy drowned because they were not trained to carry out water rescues.

Jordon jumped into the water to save his eight-year-old stepsister at a local beauty spot in May this year. Mrs Lyon said: \”If you\’re walking down the street and you see a child drowning, you automatically go in that water.\”

Well, yes, I\’d say that would be the appropriate reaction of any adult to the sight of a drowning child. Whether that adult is trained or in uniform or not. In other news, the basic pay for a PCSO is £16,000 plus paid overtime etc.

Am I being too demanding in thinking that at that price we should be employing men, not mice?

Vicki Woods is on the subject today:

A \”police presence\” is not the same as policing. And PCSOs are not the same as police officers, as reports about the inquest into the death of a 10-year-old boy in Wigan showed. Jordon Lyon was playing near a pond with his sister and both got into difficulties. A 999 call fetched two PCSOs to the scene, where people were shrieking for help as the children floundered. Two fishermen, aged 63 and 66, flung themselves into the pond and managed to rescue the girl, but the two PCSOs stood faffing about on the edge.

When a regular police sergeant arrived minutes later, he dived into the pond and pulled Jordon from the water, but he could not be resuscitated. The inquest was told: \”PCSOs are not trained to deal with major incidents such as this.\”

Oh, really? Neither are a couple of fishermen aged 63 and 66, but they had a go.

11 thoughts on “PCSOs: Men Or Mice?”

  1. Depressing story. The Brass backed the plastic bobbies after the inquest, but I would lay money on the real policemen intensifying their contempt for the PCSOs.

  2. Oh look, a new entry in the “How low can Tim go?” competition. Listen, anyone who had bothered familiarising themselves with the facts of the case would know that “the appropriate reaction of any adult to the sight of a drowning child” was irrelevant since Jordon could not be seen when the PCSOs turned up, in fact hadn’t been seen for some time, and as established by the inquest was probably already dead. The Police Federation (ie the police union) know this too, but they’re still exploiting this tragedy for their own, entirely protectionist motives. And you’re either too stupid or too shameless to resist playing along.

  3. Come off it, Jim. The notion that training takes precedence over expediency in such situations is absurd. The child may have been underwater but the boy’s broad location was known. Do you mean to suggest that you would have written him off as dead and stood by the waterside waiting for the official forms? I doubt it, I think you’d have heaved your jacket off and dived in, but I may be giving you too much credit. If as an ordinary member of the public you show more initiative and dedication to pursuing the security of the public than the police then they have failed in their statutory duty. The question is whether we should judge the adequacy of an organisation on the actions of two officers, not whether those officers proved themselves catastrophically useless by their inaction.

  4. “I think you’d have heaved your jacket off and dived in”

    Well, yes, I suppose if you want to start your rescue attempt with a fractured skull or concussion that would be a smart move. Wading in might be smarter. But best advice is always to attempt a rescue from a boat or dry land to start with. It tends to cut down on the final body count, which is a good thing.

    Could these non-policepersons swim by the way?

    Tim adds: From what I’ve seen elsewhere the pond is 6 ft deep.

  5. I just hope those two B**t***s can live with themselves after leaving the kid to drown.

    If I were being less charitable, I would say I hope they can’t live with themselves, but I suppose even one death is too many.

  6. Bob Doney, excellent work on criticising a rhetorical flourish rather than the substance of my comment. With such little tolerance for the dramatic, you must be a hell of a fun guy to know.

  7. It really is a question of individual reactions to cases. We all like to believe we would help in a drowning situation but the unfortunate reality of life is that sometimes we panic/become frozen at the worst moment, or we just are not sure how to help.

    In hindsight we are all perfect, we know what should happen but in the heat of the moment it is not always as easy to make the correct decision.

  8. “Quite what I hoped to do with this fellow I’m not sure. Probably sock him in the mouth a few times and then drag him by his hair to the local cop shop. Not to be, perhaps never to be. These film-fuelled fantasies had better come to pass before I haemorrage from their adrenline-hungry ache.”



  9. Bob, nice of you to read my blog.

    I’ll assume from the “hmmm” that this signifies disapproval, though about what I’m not sure.

    What would you have done to the car thief mentioned in my blog? Given him a hug? Hoped he’d fallen in a pond so you could twiddle your thumbs on the bank? The guy was a professional twokker, he deserved a good hard slap. I’m not about to have someone steal anyone’s property on my watch, certainly not my neighbour’s car and certainly not outside my house. I only wish I’d caught up with the SOB.

  10. Reading the exchange above, it’s difficult to say who I now have more contempt for – the ‘plastic police’ who stood by & watched two elderly men desperately attempt to save a drowning boy while making sure they didn’t gewt their uniforms wet…..

    ….or the likes of ‘Jim’ & ‘Bob Doney’ who whine that they did the right thing & every other human being on the planet is wrong.

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