all in the day of a PCSO ...
Big-Si: the law in Macclesfield * interview IV *
introduction: Big-Si works a rural beat that is a whole other dimension from your average PCSO.
falkor: hello Simon
falkor: how are you?
Big-Si: I'm alright mate, how you doing?
falkor: oooo not too bad, you got your Ford Ranger?
falkor: you're happy about that aren't you?
Big-Si: well I've not got to use it yet, sadly
Big-Si: it's been seconded to the airport
falkor: how can they do that?
Big-Si: well apparently they've got some money from the Home Office for funding it, so I'm still stuck with a soggy old Landrover for the time being
falkor: YOU LIKE THE LANDROVER!
Big-Si: I do yeah
falkor: oh you prefer it actually, secretly
Big-Si: well she's a nice old girl, she's high up and all the villagers know her as well, so she kind of has an impressive feeling about her in the village
falkor: have a word with the Airport and tell them that they can KEEP the Ford Ranger
Big-Si: [laughing] no it's very nice, there's a lot more room in it and there's a decent heater in it
falkor: well what's all this about getting a Ford Ranger? who's made that decision?
Big-Si: well the force have decided. We've got two Landrovers, we've got an 'R' reg one and we've got an 'N' reg one and they're coming towards the end of their days really. I was in the 'N' reg one last week and I had to go up into the hills, to have a look at a burnt out car and I went up this track and there was a 2' /3' snow drift and it was very wet as well and I got up there and it started getting a bit slippy and I decided to change the ratio over - couldn't change it over the whole Landrover just started sliding [laughing]
I got a bit panicky - ended up booting the gearstick and managed to change the ratio, then it was alright
falkor: yeah it's always a bit tricky trying to change the old ratio
Big-Si: well it shouldn't be
falkor: you get trained in it don't you
Big-Si: well yeah we do - we do a 4 x 4 course, that the force pay for and it's a really good course, because you get an 'on road' and an 'off road.' It's all done by the force's driving school - yeah it's good fun, it's a good course
falkor: how long?
Big-Si: they're both a one day course
Big-Si: you get taken out in a Landrover Discovery - which are nicer beasts because they've got the suspension but you get used to throwing them around on the road - y'know, try and keep it shiny side up
falkor: well you seem to drive that Landrover on your own, a lot of the time
Big-Si: I do work on my own: In Macclesfield we've only got 3 PCSOs. Poynton, that's a small village 7 miles up the road, they've got 2 PCSOs which are funded by the Parish Council, so they just solely work in Poynton. Poynton's more of an urban village than a rural village, so those guys they're out on foot full time and they've also got a mountain bike as well which they use
falkor: well I've read about some of the calls that you've gone down to - for instance the one where you went down to, the shop with 30 youths. You were on your own on that occasion and when you got out, they all surrounded you and just at the critical moment a 'V70t5' pulled up, what the hell's that?
Big-Si: that was one of our TPT which is our response team - one of our officers was turning up to back me up at the call anyway - that was an interesting night that one. They weren't bad those lads [laughing] but they like to think that they're gangsters. Where I worked before - Macclesfield, the kids there ARE bad, they are nasty kids, I'm sure that they're nothing compared to what you get down in some of the estates around Hackney or Brixton
falkor: well there's nothing like having the old cavalry turn up just at the right moment is there?
Big-Si: it certainly is a nice feeling
falkor: I loved that war story you put on about Captain Major and his 'raid' on the rival camp
Big-Si: my Dad was on that when he was in the Military Police - how the hell they didn't get shot I don't know
falkor: how on earth did they get away with raiding 2 tanks, 2 trucks, guns, 2 land rovers an armoured car and drove them all out of the rival base's front gates!
Big-Si: [laughing] yeah my Dad said that the C.O of the other camp was doing a visit months later and piped up "I seem to recognise some of the equipment in your yard" .... over a G + T in the officers' mess
Big-Si: [in mock British Officer's voice] "I thought that's what the bally German's stole!"
falkor: I totally enjoyed that one we need more of those
falkor: That photo of you directing traffic at the gas leak was quite a good one - you were on your own there were you?
Big-Si: at that particular point I was yeah
falkor: You were directing traffic in the middle of that junction on your own?
Big-Si: well it was a bit more than that, I was on a 4 -12 Friday night and had just come on when they shouted up for anyone free to go to this and I was the only one at the time in Macclesfield because the PCs on my block come on at 7pm as they do 7 - 3 so I was sent to this gas leak down by the railway station, "traffic problems" so being a TPCSO it was "yeah no problem." When I got there I found that some contractors had stuck a JCB through a gas main - fractured a gas main and they'd taken out the electricity supply for the town centre as well
falkor: oh marvellous
Big-Si: where it was was, is like a crossroads with one of the main run throughs bypassing the pedestrianised areas and the Fire Brigade said there was a 50% chance of it going up, if it does because there's no wind, we reckon it'll be localised to within 4 metres of the crater, but it's going to go up 100' /200' or so, we don't want any pedestrians coming out of the railway station this side or vehicles going into the railway station
falkor: and you're supposed to cope with that on your own?
Big-Si: and I was like right ok - but I got on the radio and organised BTP to come, I got 2 motorbikes to come down from Piccadily in Manchester
falkor: BTP motorbikes? crikey! [BTP = British Transport Police]
Big-Si: yeah clapped out BMWs they've got
falkor: they were helpful were they?
Big-Si: oh yeah they sorted the pedestrians coming out of the railway station
falkor: how long did they take to get to you?
Big-Si: about half an hour
Big-Si: so not too bad from Manchester ... and then the snow decided to come down [laughing]
falkor: I bet you were glad to get back to a cup of tea after that lot
Big-Si: I was there for three and a half hours and thankfully I was nice and warm, but I think my colleague who turned up to do one of the other road closures was frozen
falkor: was he a TPCSO as well?
Big-Si: he's a PC
falkor: actually I didn't remember that you were a TPCSO to be quite honest
Big-Si: yeah we're all 'traffic' CSOs in Cheshire
falkor: all of you?
Big-Si: yeah the chief decided to give all PCSOs traffic powers - it's quite different how we work it from the MET reading on the site - we're used more on community parking issues
falkor: they gave you that TPCSO thing just as a blanket cover didn't they? you're not REALLY a TPCSO are you?
Big-Si: no I don't go out and do traffic enforcement, bus lanes, red routes like in London or anything like that, but I do deal with things like the gas leak, directing traffic stuff like that, going out to local schools .. I've got 2 schools in the village and with the parents dropping and picking the kids up and it's just like a rat run really - it's only a matter of time before one of the kids gets hurt, so I'm trying to come up with a bit of preventative measures and I'm in negotiation with the local schools and local residents to introduce a voluntary one way system
falkor: a VOLUNTARY one way system Simon?
Big-Si: the road itself is really narrow and you get parents parking up on one side - with cars kind of zig zagging in and out, at the other end of the road there's a paper mill and there's also a fire station as well
falkor: if it's going to be one way how will this work?
Big-Si: well what'll happen is at the top end of this road, you've got a road coming in and a road going out - what we'll say is 8.15am - 9.30am and 3pm - 4pm we'll make it a one way run in from Moss Brow to Albert Rd
falkor: good luck on that
Big-Si: well everyone I've spoken to seems to be happy with it - I'm sure you'll get 1 or 2 that'll go against it, but what they'll find is that the majority of people will be going the other way and they're going to be sitting there trying to go into the oncoming traffic for ages
falkor: would you be able to get any signs put up on that?
Big-Si: that's something that I'd need to talk to the town council about
falkor: I think that would make a LOT of difference y'know
Big-Si: yeah I think you're right there, the school's are all for it, the locals are all for it, so when I get back in to work next week I'm going to try and set up a meeting at the schools
falkor: have you got a local newspaper where you can get it featured?
Big-Si: yeah yeah
falkor: you'd thought of that?
Big-Si: yeah and the local radio station
falkor: the local radio station, what do they play?
Big-Si: SILK FM ... rubbish
Big-Si: not my style, they're just a general commercial radio station
falkor: what about your old specials days, you were a Special for 7 years - how did that go?
Big-Si: I loved it, I had a really good time - the reason I got into it was my Dad having been in the Military Police and then he did a bit of time in the regs as well, when he came out of the army. My brother was a special constable for a while - I'm actually a chef by trade and I was a bit bored, I'd been cheffing - gone to college - done my apprenticeship, trained for 6 years - worked hard, but got a bit bored with it and decided to have a look at something else. I took a year out of cheffing and took some agency work driving and got into computers ended up working for 'Digital' as an installation engineer going out enstalling desktop PCs and servers and then I got some contract work through that, with Siemens next door and then 'Digital' got taken over by 'Compaq' and I worked for 'Compaq' for four years as a field service engineer, they trained me up. I did a Microsoft certified course through them and worked as an installation engineer, so I did all that and then went working for Vodafone on the old mobile internet support desk for the old Vizzavi which was the old WAP service that Vodafone used to provide and from there I got into product development
falkor: my goodness you have been about a bit haven't you
Big-Si: I have - some people used to laugh and say "My god you've had more jobs than Daft Larry"
falkor: but you haven't clocked up much in the old Local Government Pension Scheme though have you Simon?
Big-Si: well I'm full time in the Police now and I'm in my fourth year
falkor: but that isn't much really is it?
Big-Si: it's not no
falkor: you look at all your old jobs - you weren't clocking up anything in the LGPS
Big-Si: no not at all no, so what I've done I've transferred a bit over - I've kept some sitting there, because I don't want to lose out .... because you do get penalised if you transfer ... but my career is planned out in the police service now and this is why I do feel so strongly about the pension scheme - it's something that we signed up to and I can't see myself wanting to walk the beat at the age of 65 on a Zimmer frame
falkor: well you posted that you were going to lose £16000
Big-Si: well yeah I've worked it out and it's getting on for £17000 off my lump sum
falkor: well nobody seems to have reacted to that at all, that just seems to have been ignored
Big-Si: and on top of that, you will lose off your annual income as well
falkor: £16000 crikey
Big-Si: it's a lot of money - one of my colleagues is looking to lose £37000
falkor: but these kind of figures have not been actually talked about in the forums have they?
Big-Si: no not at all
falkor: we've heard you say if you're under 53 you're going to be effected if it goes the wrong way
Big-Si: certainly yesterday in the office at work, when the bobbies were there it started to come out about us going on strike - the colleagues in the office were saying "You going on strike then? that's just wrong, you can't do that" and then when they said well is it just PCSOs? no, it's going to be all our CSIs, it's going to be core handling ...
falkor: the more people who go on strike, the more acceptable it'll be
Big-Si: I am detecting a bit of animosity towards the PCSOs who are going on strike
falkor: well this is the whole problem with it and it always is with strikes
Big-Si: I disagree with it but I don't disagree with it. It's something that I'm working for - it's something that I've signed up to - I've signed a contract, it's something I work hard for and I pay into, I don't see why I should have to change and have to work longer
falkor: it's a very difficult subject, so difficult but going back to operational stuff do you remember the kebab shop one? the drunk racist?
Big-Si: oh yeah yeah
falkor: first of all you called for urgent assistance NO REPLY, but when you DID get some bods down there they decided to 136 him didn't they?
Big-Si: yeah they did
falkor: see I've got my own thoughts about that, because it's all very well doing a s136 but in many ways, I think, it's an easy way out and I know you're going to say yeah well he was shown M MENTAL on PNC, but he never goes to court for this does he?
Big-Si: no but it's a difficult one this because, the guy he's a well known local with mental health issues and in a small town you do get to know your regulars - you get to know your guys who have got mental health issues and in the past I've had cases, well the last one it was a racially aggravated public order and it was decided that he was sectioned and he wouldn't be going down the criminal justice avenue, which is disappointing because at the end of the day he is committing offences and someone else has made a decision as to whether he's compus mentus
Big-Si: in the case of this guy ... alcohol was a contributing factor - I think yes maybe the bobbies did go for the easy one by sectioning him but he has got mental health issues and he's not getting the help that he needs
falkor: let's have a little look at that case then Simon - he went down to the local hospital where they did an assessment on him did they?
Big-Si: that's right yes
falkor: what happened then?
Big-Si: transferred over to the Milbrook unit
falkor: and then?
Big-Si: treated in hospital as a voluntary patient I would imagine
falkor: so he just walks out of the flippin place and goes home?
Big-Si: that's right yeah
falkor: and that's the result
falkor: no court case he's just back at home on the old couch watching Eastenders and you're driving past in your old Landy and it's all another day
Big-Si: well yeah
falkor: [laughing] that's my point
Big-Si: I know where you're coming from, but the problem is that if you bang him up in a cell, he needs to get assessed and I think the more times that he comes to the NHS' attention and Social Services and we submit our 40As they're gonna start realising that yeah there are issues here, he shouldn't be in the community, he should be residential and they're doing a lot of work on that at the moment following up on people who shouldn't be in the community who are in the community and going out and sectioning them putting them on an 8 and taking them in
falkor: they've knocked down so many many mental hospitals - housing estates now! where those places used to be
Big-Si: we used to have massive mental health facilities in Macclesfield, there were about 6 or 7 and when I was a kid we used to go up through Macclesfield to 'Tegg's Nose' which is a country park and we used to pass them all and now there's ONE left and all the rest they're all executive apartments now
falkor: it's a laugh isn't it
Big-Si: this was the mental health facilities for Manchester as well, they were absolutely MASSIVE and where are these people now?
Big-Si: the amount of mental health it's round about the same maybe gone up a little bit and people do need care and banging 'em out in the community is not the answer - locking them up in a police cell, I don't think's the answer either
falkor: yeah but they go to court then though that's the thing - I know it's not the answer but then at least there's a court case
in 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.
falkor: anyway let's move on to Aspen P.D. your mate went over there didn't he?
Big-Si: Rob yeah
falkor: where is Aspen?
falkor: I had a look at their website, did you see their patrol car it's just like a Vauxhall Vectra
Big-Si: yeah they had Saabs I think when Rob went
falkor: did you see the bar lights on the top? they were so THIN
falkor: about an inch high
falkor: at least they've got a shotgun in the back though
Big-Si: well yeah he said they've got CSOs - they're not police officers, but they have all the kit - they don't carry a revolver but they have a shotgun
falkor: so he went out with them did he?
Big-Si: yeah he spent a couple of days with them - he does a lot of workabouts Rob
falkor: that is GREAT, do you fancy that then, doing that?
Big-Si: who me, no
falkor: what about going over to Colorado on holiday?
Big-Si: yeah I'd like to go
falkor: I would too, sounds great to me
Big-Si: beautiful place
Big-Si: yeah Rob's just been down and spent a couple of weeks with the MET actually, working out of Whitechapel
falkor: sorry is he a PCSO is he?
Big-Si: he's a PC Rob he's a beat manager and he's really up on the mountain bikes section at Macclesfield
falkor: so do you ever go on that Simon?
Big-Si: I'm waiting to get kitted up and get the course, apparently they've spent £900 to get the uniform and the bikes ain't cheap either
falkor: £900 just for the uniform
Big-Si: yeah just for the uniform
falkor: my god that's a bit steep
Big-Si: well it'll certainly help me in the village a bit - y'know getting about
falkor: be nice in the summer
Big-Si: oh yeah
Big-Si: it'll be warm
falkor: too right
falkor: well thanks very much for phoning up Simon
Big-Si: you're welcome
falkor: you're very kind I can see that you're a very active PCSO
Big-Si: thanks very much
falkor: thank you
Big-Si: nice one keep the site going and always enjoy it I'm sat looking at it now actually
falkor: oh nice one Cheers Simon
Big-Si: cheers mate
falkor: okay bye C O N C L U D E D 1322 Thursday 16th March 2006 Big-Si's R Reg Landy . . . click to ZOOOOM
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