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national PCSOs

    the website for Police Community Support Officers across England and Wales

home page of pcsos-national  view Daily Mirror log (2005)  enter FORUMS  view 'GlynB's interview'  try PCSO quiz

Cartoon by John Child all in the day of a PCSO ...

 I never moan, walking all those miles in all weathers as I know, even though I get knackered that it's doing my heart and body a world of good

jump to SITEMAP introduction:  alihowe a veteran PCSO in Essex she has been to the dark side and back and is a top veteran of national-PCSOs

national-PCSOs interview

alihowe     Tues 27 March 2007   0915 – 0936

falkor: [laughing] how are you?

alihowe: I’m alright thank you

alihowe: sorry about that. I nipped up the Post Office to post a parcel and then somebody in front of me took about an hour

falkor: [laughing]

alihowe: but I’m here now

falkor: what did they have to say for themselves?

alihowe: not a lot – they were blimmin old bless em and I could hear my mobile going off and I thought it was probably you and I thought, well I can’t really do it in here …… View alihowe's profile!!

falkor: [interrupting] you could do it in the Post Office Ali!!!

alihowe: noooooo [laughing]

falkor: why not? [laughing]

alihowe: I can’t

falkor: Did you have Bella with you?

alihowe: no

falkor: oh why not?

alihowe: no she’s snoring heavily in the garden at the moment

falkor: how much sleep does that dog get?

alihowe: well she’s hardly ever awake

falkor: [laughing]

alihowe: I am meant to be a bulldog in my next life

one Bella the Bulldog!

falkor: I did get that impression when I read a few posts about her, I’ve got to say

alihowe: [laughing] she’s lovely – I’m not a doggy person and this dog appeared on my wedding anniversary, at first I thought oh my gould ……

falkor: ohh really?

alihowe: so cute as well

falkor: fantastic and what does Wally think of Bella?

alihowe: they get on really well actually. Yes she’s curled up – yeah the dog’s curled up with the cat

falkor: REALLY? Ohhhh

alihowe: well at first they were a bit boisterous

falkor: oh we’ve got to have a photograph of that

alihowe: yeah she’s lovely – she’s beautiful, in an ugly way

falkor: but how old is Wally?

alihowe: Wally’s getting on a bit now, the old boy is probably about 8

falkor: oh he’s got plenty of life left in him yet

alihowe: oh yes he has

falkor: but in cat years that’s 64

alihowe: I know bless him

falkor: actually to be quite honest …. when I was a lad, we did have a dog and a cat when my mum and dad were living in Molesey. We had a black and white cat and we had a Sealyham dog and I remember them always getting on. The dog used to chase the cat round the tree, when he was a lot younger and stuff like that, but they got on okay

alihowe: yeah the dog’s fine until the cat goes to clean the dog, I mean the dog will squash the cat

falkor: the cat goes to clean the dog?

alihowe: yeah the cat likes to clean the dog [laughing]

falkor: it starts licking it?

alihowe: yes

falkor: oh how strange

alihowe: and like I say I’m very sort of house proud and when she comes in, I like to wipe her feet and my family laugh

falkor: no that’s great I totally approve of that – it’s better than the other way round Ali isn’t it?

alihowe: yes

falkor: anyway I was going to say to you, on the subject of Street Wardens – if we can now move it on to the “PCSO scene,” I know you’ve had contact with street wardens

alihowe: yes we come across street wardens everyday on our patrol

falkor: but I keep on reading news articles about street wardens being replaced by PCSOs and it hasn’t just happened once – this is happening more and more. Do you think that will happen in Essex?

alihowe: I really don’t know, because I know that they have to struggle to get a contract for a certain period, but I think because ours are doing so very well and have had such good results. I think that’s why their contract has been extended ….

falkor: [interrupting] what good results?

alihowe: they’re more community based. For example, we had a family that had a house fire and they lost everything and I mean absolutely everything. The street wardens went round, they got furniture, they got clothes, they got absolutely everything for these people for their new house they had nothing

falkor: wow

alihowe: they went beyond what they’re meant to do in order to achieve something really really outstanding

falkor: but what do they look like when you see them walking down the road ?

alihowe: right – our Street Wardens, well you probably wouldn’t know that they were street wardens at first, because they wear a royal blue fleece, with a polo shirt underneath. They’ve got in black lettering across the front of their fleece “Street Wardens”

falkor: do they have a hat?

alihowe: They don’t have a hat. Their trousers are like navy cargo trousers and they carry a town link radio which we also have, on their belt. They’ve got a big belt on

falkor: Quite honestly they should be replaced by PCSOs shouldn’t they?

alihowe: I think they do a slightly different job, so personally I don’t think they should be replaced by PCSOs

falkor: where I live I have never come into contact with any Street Wardens. All I know about Street Wardens is what I read on the web sites.

alihowe: For instance with ours, we’ve got a big graffiti problem in our town, probably everybody else has, but we’ll phone them up and a lot of our buildings are listed grade II buildings which need specialised paint – y’know a colour that you can’t go and buy and they’ll go and get it where they mix all the paint and recycle paint and they’ll make sure it’s the correct paint for the house and go themselves and paint it over themselves and just clear up

falkor: sounds like they’re a very good agency to work hand in hand with

alihowe: they’re really really good – they come to our briefings and they also issue fixed penalty notices whenever they can but obviously only the council ones like dog fouling, not public order

falkor: Can you do any traffic tickets at all Ali?

alihowe: The only ones we issue are the CLE 2/6 s, no nothing else

falkor: You can’t do any zig zag lines?

alihowe: no can’t do those

falkor: Because you’d have to have traffic warden powers to do those

alihowe: you would yes

falkor: Is that something you’d be interested in?

alihowe: I don’t know really – to be quite honest I’d rather keep it the same. I work in the town centre and I think if we were issued traffic warden powers that is literally all that we would be doing

falkor: ah right, yes I see

alihowe: We would just be like council parking attendants

falkor: I see exactly what you’re saying

alihowe: When we’re lurking around a certain spot waiting for Joe Bloggs to turn up then suddenly we can’t do that

falkor: I see what you’re saying, fair enough. View alihowe's profile!!

falkor: You’ve actually been a member on the site since 2004, are there any classic members who you can remember from that year when you first joined?

alihowe: What, who are still there or gone?

falkor: Either way. Which were the ones who struck you when you first joined?

alihowe: Well Gforce and me have a kind of fiery relationship you know I love him to bits

falkor: [laughing]

alihowe: although I’ve never met him of course

falkor: oh I have, I have! [laughing]

alihowe: I really do like having a good old debate with him on there, it’s quite good fun

falkor: He’s completely different in the flesh I tell ya

alihowe: Is he?

falkor: He’s adorable in the flesh

alihowe: cuddly?

falkor: yes he is! I met up with him in Richmond a few months back with Headset 57 and Funny Boy was there as well

alihowe: I would have loved to have come to that

falkor: So moving swiftly on to your 3 litre Capri

alihowe: oh those were the days

falkor: That’s long gone is it?

alihowe: those were the days, they were lovely cars

alihowe: I had two actually

falkor: Did you? I love those cars

alihowe: My first one was the best one. It was a gold one and no one had messed about with it – it was completely standard and just went like – well I can’t tell you what it went like but it went

falkor: Superb, was it an auto or a manual?

alihowe: Manual

falkor: You love the manuals do you?

alihowe: I love manual – I like to be in control [laughing]

falkor: So you wouldn’t have an auto?

alihowe: no

falkor: I like the auto actually I do

alihowe: I had a Granada 2.8 Ghia

falkor: How many cars have you had??!

alihowe: oh I met my husband very young and we loved our cars and motorbikes

falkor: I do remember you putting a photo of your latest car on – marvellous!

alihowe: oh the Lotus?

falkor: yeah

alihowe: That had to go though

falkor: oh

alihowe: because we’ve got cars of our own and we bought this Lotus as a summer project, but basically it didn’t go very far and it was taxed and insured and we thought it was just a waste of money

alihowe: I wanted some wood floors to put in my house and I just needed the money [laughing] so … it went. But now I’ve got wood floors in my house!!

falkor: You don’t do what I did for the last 20 years and just go along with an overdraft for -£2000 or -£3000 in the red?

one summer project!

alihowe: No I’m one of these wheelers and dealers. I sell something to get something else. So we did that, we ripped an old fire place out and we did all sorts of things with the money – it did stretch quite far actually

falkor: ah you did well there, now moving on again, this time to your judo. Are you an orange belt?

alihowe: no, my judo I’ve only been a couple of times, I must say I’m heavily hooked but the only time I went I could hardly walk for the next week

falkor: aaaaahhhhhh well done

alihowe: because they gave a lesson at Colchester Police Station to sort of see if any of us liked it and my Inspector was my partner [laughing] and literally we didn’t mess about, we had a good fight and oh dear my arms, my legs, my back

falkor: but let’s get serious here for a minute though Ali, to use that in a real life situation you’d have to be going to Judo every week for about 3 years to get any kind of skill, let’s be serious

alihowe: I tell you what, a couple of the moves they showed us I can remember now as I’m sitting here. Like I say I’ve only been twice and I had a chappie on the high street yesterday a bit of an incident – started off ok, but it got very vocal, quite abusive I did warn him to stop swearing, but he got even more angry as I said that and I could see his fists getting clenched and getting a bit closer to me and how can I describe it going from to side to side getting angry with me and even at that time, I don’t know whether we’re allowed to use it for work – well I wasn’t going to throw him anywhere, but I thought if he comes for me, I can actually just put him down

falkor: Excellent

alihowe: [laughing] So I did have that in mind - there is one that stays clearly in my head and it is one that I could use

falkor: But you shouldn’t have been on your own though Ali

alihowe: Well sometimes we’re paired up – sometimes we’re on our own. But I don’t think you have quite the confidence to deal with a situation like you do when you’re with a colleague

falkor: Well I know some MET PCSOs are actually being told “You don’t go out of the door unless you’re paired up and if you want to go out the door on your own, then you seek the authority of your Sgt.” I’m not making this up, this is absolutely on the line and I totally back that. I think the situation is that you can go out on your own just like you did and 99 days out of a 100, you can saunter down the high street and everyone loves you and says hello and tells you little snippets so you put it on the intel and all that and then the 100th day, you just get the incident you described

alihowe: Yes you just don’t know

falkor: Because you’re on your bike now aren’t you?

alihowe: [laughing]

falkor: You are!

alihowe: I’m getting quite a fit old girl now actually

falkor: But you’re on your own on that bike aren’t you? There’s no pairing up there

alihowe: no that’s right, but I think when you’re on your own, you use your common sense, so I won’t go where I know there’s huge problems on my bike. I might go to observe but I know I won’t deal with it unless I’ve got somebody else along, if you know what I mean. I’m also quite good at standing back and I’ll just have a look and if necessary I’ll call up

falkor: Absolutely, can’t fault that at all

alihowe: but we’re quite lucky really because quite often we’re together, there’s two of us but we’re quite short on the ground at the moment, quite a few have gone off to the dark side to join as PCs

falkor: That’s still going on is it?

alihowe: Yes that’s still going on, one of my favourite PCSOs she’s just gone over – I didn’t put her off

falkor: No no but you always have your maglite with you?

alihowe: oh yes I’ve always got that – I’ve only ever had it in my hand once as a self defence back up if you like

falkor: [interrupting] how long is it then?

alihowe: it’s just the standard one that they give you, 2 cells

falkor: is that all?

alihowe: Yes

falkor: Well that’s not going to be much is it?

alihowe: Well I hear of people going out and buying these big long ones but I just think no, at the end of the day I have learnt self defence tactics and they do work

falkor: excellent

alihowe: I had a lady, a large lady running at me in the park saying “I’m going to f ,,,,, I n g kill you”

falkor: oh no

alihowe: and my first reaction was to run

falkor: well yeah you’re allowed to do that as a PCSO

alihowe: I did run away from her but not far, just to safety – then she did it to me again – this time I couldn’t quite turn to run, so I just slapped her in the chest – both palms and to be quite honest, I didn’t think that would be any good but she just flew

falkor: wow that is fantastic!

pcsos-national is approved by DMOZin 2008, saves were made of 17 pages from national-pcsos, comprising 2006 - 2007 material


Go to the first of 17 pages on pcsos-national, that records the acceleration of PCSOs to 16,000 personnel on the streets of England and Wales.

alihowe: I was actually shocked to see how far she’d gone

falkor: I love this

alihowe: She was then flat on her back on the ground she said “That f ,,,,,,,, ing hurt !”

alihowe: The only thing I could think to say was “GOOD!” [laughing]

falkor: how long ago was that?

alihowe: the only thing I did find then, was that she then went to get up again and I thought “oh boy I really don’t want to have to go through this again”

falkor: yeah

alihowe: I didn’t have any cuffs or anything, so I couldn’t contain her on the ground

falkor: were there any members of the public about who could see this?

alihowe: Yeah they could, but it’s surprising how members of the public don’t do anything

falkor: no I know

alihowe: That happened when my colleague got attacked in the town centre

falkor: that is disgraceful

alihowe: ….. members of the public were going passed

alihowe: I suppose sometimes they don’t really know what’s going on – it could look like you’re attacking the public, what they can see of it

falkor: and that is exactly what happens when people start filming it half way through isn’t it? Very tricky

alihowe: don’t rely on the public really

falkor: I’ve always wondered about these torches, do you think that most PCSOs carry torches?

alihowe: I look on the belts of the PCSOs we’ve got and we’ve got 9 now and each of us has got the standard kit on our belts – our first aid pouch, large ticket pouch, the only thing I’ve added extra to mine is I’ve got a multitool

falkor: Have you?

alihowe: Someone said to me when you’re the first one on scene of something like a hanging, you might need something to get them down

falkor: right

alihowe: I was saying in my mind “That’s true actually” the places we go it might be in the public toilets around town – I’ve had awful things in there and a multitool could be something that would mean saving someone’s life or not

falkor: What is it? It’s a knife and a screwdriver is it?

alihowe: I got it when I left to go and be a PC, they got me a leatherman which was engraved from all the members of my team and there’s my team at the bottom

falkor: how lovely

alihowe: it means a lot to me my multitool

falkor: fair enough, I wouldn’t argue with that

alihowe: I did ask at work and they said “No we don’t see a problem as you’ve got it for work purposes”

falkor: And now you’ve been trained on actually doing crime reports haven’t you?

alihowe: Yes we have

falkor: I never thought that would come in y’know

alihowe: In 2003 we had a very very different training to what the PCSOs are getting now. We had a PC from Clacton-on-sea and a PC from Colchester that have worked really really hard to put a package together for all the staff and I have to say now that having done the job, there’s a lot of policey stuff in there, a hell of a lot. But then saying that we had domestic violence, we had statements, 2/9 statements which people don’t get now, crime reports – a big input on booking property in which they don’t get now, they just have to learn it when they come over – we had a really really thorough training. And if we’re uptown and something happens uptown, they’ll say can you go in the first instance and crime this job because we’re right next to it, so it makes sense

falkor: and you would do that?

alihowe: we’ve got folders in quite a few locations uptown, secure locations like say in Marks and Spencer. So we’ll go to them and say “Can we get one of our 105s please” which is our Crime Complaint – then we’ll nip round the corner to say BHS and we’ll crime that person theft – get onto the Crime Bureau who would allocate it to an OIC View alihowe's profile!!

falkor: But this is taking advantage of you Ali isn’t it?

alihowe: It is and it isn’t. A) We’re on our beat and so we’re still visible and B) not being funny, as you do them quite a lot, you get quite quick at them

falkor: Yeah true

alihowe: Y’know you don’t need to do war and peace, just put the facts on there

alihowe: But it is taking advantage of us, but saying that we’re out there, we work for the police so why not use and abuse us to a certain point?

falkor: And you’re getting some credibility from the PCs by doing that

alihowe: We are and we aren’t, because obviously we are adding to their already horrendous workloads but at the end of the day it would come to them anyway

falkor: Of course

alihowe: It’s a bit bad when you can see them saying “oh here’s another one coming” [laughing]

alihowe: But it is very very busy at the moment because we’ve had lots of big changes it’s extra busy at the moment

falkor: What’s the situation on Essex’s ground – UNISON are campaigning for PCSO supervisors. Have you got PCSO supervisors?

alihowe: We haven’t got one and to be quite honest I don’t think we have enough at the moment to warrant that position

falkor: No?

alihowe: But the way I look at it is, if we had a team of say 20 or 30 which could happen, I don’t know how big it’s going to go, then I think it makes sense to have somebody there who can do all the annual leave, all the bits that the Sgts get piled up with from the PCs anyway

falkor: Well you said that you had 9 PCSOs

alihowe: Yes

falkor: Well that’s enough for a PCSO supervisor definitely

alihowe: Do you think?

falkor: Well it’s a fact

falkor: One PCSO supervisor could supervise 6 PCSOs

alihowe: All I can say is that if it happens and there’s some sort of test that you went for, maybe they would do it on merit, then I would consider it

falkor: You would be interested

alihowe: I would. The only thing that would put me off, is if it was going to tie me to the desk because I am really an outside person

falkor: ah right yeah I can’t answer that one

alihowe: If it was going to be like attending meetings then fine, you can do that reasonably quick you don’t have to be at a meeting all day, say do the paperwork say 3 times a week but it would have to be quite even, I couldn’t be sat at a desk all the time or I’d go mad

falkor: ok I can see what you’re saying there

falkor: you have got to be one of the most experienced members that we’ve got on the site now. You’ve been a PCSO, you’ve been to PC for 9 months and now you’re PCSO again. I mean you’ve seen all aspects of everything really

alihowe: Yeah I’ve seen both sides of the fence if you like and I know which one I definitely miss the most

alihowe: When I joined as a PC don’t get me wrong I found the law input fascinating and lots of other things fascinating – in that 7 months of probation I actually got out and when I say out, I mean out to do policing with people not with paperwork, twice

falkor: Cor that’s a bit flippin low

alihowe: I just thought to myself – I had various other bits that were going on in there - the tutors that I had didn’t work with PCSOs and weren’t big fans of PCSOs so when I came from headquarters having done all my law input, I don’t think I was very popular before I even started

falkor: that’s terrible

alihowe: purely because of what I’d done before and because I’d won a lot of awards, so basically I was told “well you might have been bloody good at that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be good at this”

falkor: that is just awful

alihowe: it wasn’t very good – I just weighed everything up and thought “I’ve given up the job that I love, I looked forward to going to work every day and here I am sitting here feeling like this, I’ve never felt like this in my life”

falkor: that is diabolical, I’m sorry to hear that

alihowe: I had a chat with the family and that and they said they’d never seen me like it before and then I had a chat with my Chief Insp and he said “I can’t believe it” and told him the long story and he said that I was always welcome back so I went

falkor: Was there a lot of difference in money?

alihowe: Well because I’d been a PCSO a little while – my money had gone up and up, so when I started as a Police probationer I was on slightly less

falkor: [laughing] oh no!!

alihowe: but that was nothing to do with it really because I knew that pay would be going up and PCSOs don’t get overtime and anyway it was just slightly less, not thousands and I just thought “All this hassle”

falkor: well you’ve certainly been through it – you could write a book on it Ali!

alihowe: Yes but at the end of the day I always think if I hadn’t done it, I’d still be sitting here now thinking ‘what if’ View alihowe's profile!!

falkor: you would

alihowe: Y’know, to do that at 40 and you know I ran the bleep test and I’m not a runner I’m really not, I can dance judo all sorts of things, but I’m not a runner, so I do feel quite chuffed that I did all that at that age

falkor: well it’s been a pleasure talking to you Ali

alihowe: there you are I told you I could speak for England jump to SITEMAP

falkor: no you’ve done well

alihowe: alright then

falkor: thanks Ali

alihowe: see you then

alihowe: bye

falkor: okay bye

home page of pcsos-national  view Daily Mirror log (2005)  enter FORUMS  view 'GlynB's interview'  try PCSO quiz

Cartoon by John Child all in the day of a PCSO ...

pick an interview to read
view bazza interview view sueb interview view baronsmirnoff interview view danielswindells interview view mono interview view dizzy interview view Big-Si interview view digger interview view Dilly Day Dream interview view sueb interview
In my fourth year as a PCSO, but 7 months of that I was a PC but it just wasn't for me.

>the lady herself! alihowe
interviews 2007: summary information
#sitememberinterviewGO TO includes
1national Traffic Race Track27.3.07 V I E W  ever pressed the emergency button?
risk of litigation on RRBs
12½% shift allowance or 20% shift allowance
PITO | the site before NT
national-PCSOs early days
2national-PCSOs alihowe27.3.07 V I E W  dogs and cats | street wardens
Lotus as a summer project
judo for PCSOs | Granada 2.8 Ghia
going over to the dark side
heavy confrontation | actually doing crime reports | 3 litre Capri
3national-PCSOs GlynB27.3.07 V I E W  UNISON PCSO working group
Drum and Bugle Corps | S Y Police Band
PCSOs can go onto age 65? | membership of UNISON
Met PCSOs are replacing Station Officers
lower pay for PCSOs? | zig zag lines
PCSOs being issued with batons etc
4national Traffic mondeoman28.3.07 V I E W  Gist logistics | Prospect, union
Police ride ons
verbal abuse in the course of your duties
the site before NT | we’ll be traffic police
get rid of all the PCSOs
5national Traffic Tricky30.3.07 V I E W  Major Incident Training
Dartford River Crossing Police
cooking | Accuracy Brevity and Clarity
Muttley in the hi-vis
French | spam | Dr Who
6national Traffic pongolad30.3.07 V I E W  caravans | legless on the motorway
United Nations
tropical fish
7national Traffic Keokeo31.3.07 V I E W  the problem of passwords and usernames
firefox V IE | subMerged
H.A. model of Toyota Landcruiser
Silverstone grand prix | night security
maglite | driving instructor | CSMA
Bradford's media museum | a windy Thursday | Blues Brothers
8national-PCSOs micky1.4.07 V I E W  'PCSO observers' | s59 seizing a car
offduty | 'pointless taxi productions'
challenging people to races
access to crimint and CRIS
PCSOs being posted to the front office
the 2004 survey!
9national-PCSOs CIDB1.4.07 V I E W  Kew Gardens 2005 | £80 PNDs
PCSO ANPR operator | seizing for no insurance
XBOX 360 | shoplifters
going to the gym 4 times a week
a power to detain, but without using force
UNISON | handcuffing someone
10national Traffic Guinness Man1.4.07 V I E W  police rideons | incident support units
Traffic Officer grade assessors
Rover TC and the Rover 3500S
union | bank holiday working
11national Traffic TheWanderer30.3.07 V I E W WorldWidePolice | emergencyservicesonline
Dartford River Crossing Police
YouTube and the motorway videos
cover shifts | John Child
car stickers and metal badges
#sitememberinterviewGO TO includes

home page of pcsos-national  view Daily Mirror log (2005)  enter FORUMS  view 'GlynB's interview'  try PCSO quiz


pick an interview to read
view bazza interview view mj12cz interview view baronsmirnoff interview view danielswindells interview view mono interview view dizzy interview view Big-Si interview view digger interview view Dilly Day Dream interview view sueb interview