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national PCSOs

    the website for Police Community Support Officers across England and Wales

        

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

 "Your pension is deferred wages. You contribute 6% of your salary, your employer contributes and the money is invested to gain an additional income."

introduction:  GlynB a PCSO since PCSOs came in, Glyn was one of the very first PCSO supervisors and is an active member of the union: UNISON

national-PCSOs interview     GlynB   27 March 2007     0830 - 0858

falkor: hello Glyn, can you hear me?

GlynB: yep yep go ahead

falkor: you know you're being taped don't you? Message GlynB

GlynB: of course I do

falkor: [laughing] thanks very much for phoning, you are dead on the dot

GlynB: I try to be on time. Punctuality's always been one of my things

falkor: crikey that was to the actual second

GlynB: there you go, that's what happens when you spend a lifetime working for the Police

falkor: did you have second thoughts on doing the interview Glyn? jump to SITEMAP

GlynB: not particularly no

GlynB: it's no problem

falkor: first of all I would like to thank you sincerely for reading all the private messages that I've sent you and for replying to each one of them, or acting on each one of them should I say, that's very good of you

GlynB: that's no problem, always happy to oblige

falkor: the last one I sent you was on "overtime" and you then you put a seven paragraph reply onto the site and this is what you always do - you go into it comprehensively and I'm so glad to have you on the site

falkor: you are such a great asset to our site

falkor: now is there anything about our website, that you think could be improved at all?

GlynB: no, not particularly. I find it easy to navigate - I don't have an issue with it. I find the discussions interesting at times. I don't think there's a lot I would do - then again I'm no great expert on websites

falkor: thanks for that Glyn. Now you've been seconded onto UNISON haven't you?

GlynB: That's right. Effectively South Yorkshire Police pay my salary to run the union in the South Yorkshire Police. It's an agreement that most Police Forces have at least 1 person seconded

falkor: [interrupting] but you are a PCSO aren't you?

GlynB: Yes that's right. Well in theory I am anyway

falkor: [laughing] But you did start off duty as a PCSO didn't you?

GlynB: My first job with South Yorkshire Police was as a Traffic Warden in 1985

falkor: But you have done days on the street as a PCSO?

GlynB: Yes from Nov 2003 to Aug 2005 I was a PCSO supervisor, in the community support team at West Bar, Sheffield Central, so I was - if you like - the PCSO with responsibility to management for running the team.

falkor: because at that stage, the government was saying "We're going to finance this through to 2008" and that seemed a hell of a long way ahead - so far into the future it almost wasn't worth worrying about, but now . that's next year !!

GlynB: yes it is indeed, but when you negotiate for here at South Yorkshire I was on the working party on behalf of UNISON when I was a traffic warden supervisor, we negotiated very early on that the contracts would be permanent. So effectively, although they obviously are worried about funding, our police authority has agreed that everybody in place, is on a permanent open ended contract. So we're not too worried about that - the funding issues - at this point.

falkor: and is it your opinion that that is the case generally in place across the rest of the 43 Police Forces across the land?

GlynB: unless political wills change. The reality is, can you imagine being the Home Secretary who says, or the Chief Constable who says they are about to withdraw 16,000 uniform patrol staff from the streets? It would be political suicide for them wouldn't it? Unless they replaced them with 16,000 police officers, which is not going to happen. so the reality is I believe that yes there will be ups and downs - there are in all employment situations - but as a broad picture, I believe the majority of police staff will be kept on

falkor: okay thanks very much for that. That's very encouraging. Moving on - you were talking about the PCSO working group the other day Glyn - the UNISON PCSO working group and you said that there were a number of these people who were visitors to our forum

GlynB: That's right

falkor: But I don't quite understand that one, because if you're a visitor to our site you can see that "Public" Site problems section and "Off Topic" and that's it

GlynB: Well when I say visitors, they're probably members. I don't know who all the members of the forum are, but I do know that occasionally I see posts from people who I believe are on the PCSO working group

falkor: and what does that actually mean?

GlynB: well the PCSO working group is the UNISON body that basically develop policies within the union which work for PCSOs

falkor: [interrupting] yeah but are they worth having? Do they do anything?

GlynB: I believe so yeah - they are largely responsible for a lot of the responses that UNISON give to the HOME OFFICE and so on. You will be aware of the UNISON response to the consultation document from the HOME OFFICE on powers for instance. If you listen to the response given by the Federation, which said that UNISON were being listened to too much. We supported the concept of a considerable extension of powers for PCSOs and standardisation of powers across the country and that comes intrinsically from people like the working group who are looking at a number of issues. Currently they're looking at trying to get some sort of standardisation of uniform - which I know this is a big thing among members of this site or who contribute to the site. How far we'll get with that of course is another matter but these are the kind of things that are being done.

falkor: I do understand and it does cross my mind sometimes of the union representation of the MET PCSOs and they're in the PCS union as you know and sometimes I wonder whether they'd be better off in UNISON, because they seem to be off on their own.

GlynB: I don't know. I understand that there are working relationships between PCS and UNISON and as far as I'm aware, there are PCSOs in other unions like the T & G and GMB both of which are recognised within the Police Service generally

falkor: there are PCSOs in those unions?

GlynB: yeah the odd one or two

falkor: this is crazy!

GlynB: South Yorkshire for instance they've got 3 or 4 in the Transport and General who worked as drivers or control room operators previously for the South Yorkshire Police and were already in the T & G and kept their membership whereas the vast majority of PCSOs in South Yorkshire are in UNISON

falkor: but Glyn this is just fragmentation isn't it?

GlynB: It is but that's the nature of the game unfortunately

falkor: I mean they're just wasting their flippin money surely?

GlynB: I wouldn't want to comment on that. To be honest people make their own decisions

falkor: To be in all these fragmented unions just 2 or 3 at a time is crazy isn't it let's be honest

GlynB: Well I like to try and work together with my colleagues in the other unions

falkor: [interrupting] ah it's not going to ..

GlynB: .. To try and achieve something together

falkor: [laughing]

GlynB: oddly enough I've just been in correspondence this morning with the Transport and General Workers about a mutual concerning issue at one of our districts so ... we manage to rub along, let's put it that way

falkor: okay then now it's time to ask you about your Drums and Bugle band. How are you getting on with that?

GlynB: Absolutely fine

falkor: You're still in that are you?

GlynB: I've been involved since I was a lad - 40 years or something like that.

falkor: What is it that you do?

GlynB: Currently I'm the treasurer of the Concord Drum and Bugle Corps and I also do a bit of teaching - brass mainly

falkor: Bugles?

GlynB: Trumpets, it's a misnomer to call it a bugles corps - it's more like a marching brass band except that all the instruments are forward facing rather than being upright

falkor: great!

GlynB: I think we've been going twenty four years, just kids y'know up to about 24, 25 something like that

falkor: yeah lovely!

GlynB: it's more of a social thing than one might imagine. The concept is to put on performances

falkor: [interrupting] when was the last one?

GlynB: we played at a basket ball match last week

falkor: really that recent? Crikey that is excellent. I used to be in a drum and bugle band myself actually. I was in a scout band and I absolutely loved it

GlynB: That's where I started in the scouts and I play in the South Yorks police band as well. I make the numbers up in the corps and drums. I either play the snare drum or occasionally I act as drum major when the drum major can't make it.

falkor: South Yorkshire Police have got a band? Because the Met Police haven't anymore, they had to scrap their's.

GlynB: Our band operates on a purely voluntary basis and the majority of people are not police officers - we've just got a small nucleus of bobbies

falkor: Well that's the way that the Met Police went and in the end it just went off the flippin cliff

GlynB: But we haven't been a formal official band since the miners' strike

falkor: My god

GlynB: We had an official band before then when people had duty time to actually take part, but at the time of the miners' strike the bobbies were withdrawn for that and consequently, it's been an all volunteer affair with a number of bobbies in - one or two members of staff and then the rest are members of the community

falkor: well that sounds absolutely grand. You've got your hands full. I don't know how you've got time to do it all Glyn

GlynB: well you get by don't you

falkor: [laughing] right I've got to ask you a few questions - now you may recognise some of these questions from the forums but you'll have to forgive me - can I ask you about this discrimination of age thing that's come up. I mean theoretically is it the case that PCSOs can go onto age 65?

GlynB: Theoretically they can go beyond that

falkor: They can go beyond that?

GlynB: The nominal retirement age in the police service for police staff is 65, which is the default retirement age as set forward in the regulations - however - anybody can apply to remain in work past that age and an employer can either agree or not

falkor: but if they disagree Glyn, is that not age discrimination?

falkor: Say for instance you're 66 how can they stop you staying on, on the grounds of age because that's age discrimination

GlynB: Yes it would be. The point being that under the current legislation it actually says that the employer doesn't actually have to give a reason, so it could be the efficiency of the service - it could be that you're no longer fit and competent - it could be anything, but they don't actually have to give a reason under the current legislation, which doesn't make a lot of sense, because the legislation came in as a result of a European directive, which I think was intended to ensure that people weren't discriminated on the grounds of age. Now if you don't know why an employer won't agree to you staying past 65, then how can you claim that you are being discriminated against on the grounds of age?

falkor: I understand

GlynB: Bearing in mind that there's been virtually no cases at the moment, although there has been an Advocate General's ruling in the European Court of Justice which states effectively that it's unlawful to have any form of retirement age but we're waiting for the full judgement. Experience of a few cases that I'm aware of are that people have applied for and been granted extensions but they've not been PCSOs, they've been in other roles. Usually most employers will say yeah we'll give you another year and review it

falkor: Have you heard the news on the developments in the Met Police where PCSOs are gradually replacing Station Officers?

GlynB: yeah I've read about that

falkor: well it's actually happening

GlynB: I find that unusual and I can see no point other than the fact that the government may be funding the PCSOs

falkor: that's what it's all about Glyn!

falkor: and if the Met can do it do you think that other Forces can go along the same way?

GlynB: well I'm absolutely convinced that the Forces will attempt to make use of their PCSOs in the broadest possible way, or indeed with any kind of staff. I suppose part of the issue is whether it can be done more cheaply or more economically. I'm not saying that's the right thing to do, in fact I think not. What one would hope to achieve is having specialists, as working the front counter is a very special role let's be honest. It takes a lot of learning, everything that happens there at the front desk which is why of course it was an advantage when we moved away from having bobbies doing it. It takes a long time to learn if you're only doing it part time doesn't it?

falkor: So in your force you've got civilians doing it?

GlynB: Yes

falkor: And they're quite happy doing it obviously

GlynB: Yes we've had police staff doing it for .. Ten years?

falkor: [interrupting] and have PCSOs ever jumped into that role?

GlynB: not as far as I'm aware

falkor: Before all this huge development occurred in the MET I did hear before that, that say for instance a PCSO was injured or something, they come back onto light duties. During their light duties they work on the front desk

GlynB: Well yes I would accept that as a reasonable way of going on. Whenever we get people who are unable to perform their primary role, we seek to get them in to some alternative light duties not operational and certainly my experience when I was running the traffic wardens in Sheffield, was when we had women who were pregnant and staff who were returning from a long period of sickness, the Occupational Health Unit (OHU) used to put them in CID admin sorting that out. Filing and things like that or they would help out on the front desk and in fact that did lead to a couple of them ending up as front desk staff, when they'd gained the experience working for several weeks on the front desk and were able to apply for that job and get it

falkor: yeah that's fair comment

falkor: Can I ask you about these police forces that have actually brought in lower pay for PCSOs?

GlynB: alright

falkor: Northumbria

GlynB: was that as a result of a job evaluation scheme?

falkor: well I don't know, Northumbria, Hertfordshire and North Wales are 3 who I know for a fact, PCSOs joining now are getting less money, than the ones they're working alongside

GlynB: well that will have come about as a result of a job evaluation scheme I assume. What will have happened is that the original evaluation - if indeed there was one and bear in mind that some forces just leapt in and guessed at the price - would have come up with a rate for the job but once embedded in the job it becomes more obvious what the job really is, re evaluate it and come up with a figure. Now if they're already employed and effectively employed on a contract that says this will be your wages so the normal practice then, when a job is downgraded is to say to those in post "we'll ringfence you" so they get a number of years 'protection' but they will eventually revert to the same pay scale as the rate for the job

falkor: that's pretty demoralising though Glyn isn't it?

GlynB: Yes it is but in every job evaluation there are winners and losers if I'm entirely honest. What we have here in South Yorkshire is if a job's downgraded and it does occasionally happen, individuals who are in that job are protected for up to five years. What they do is they don't get any of the annual pay rises for up to five years, by which time normally they're at the right scale for the job and it gives them a period of time in which to reflect, in case they're thinking of getting another job

falkor: so there's no advice that you can give on that really

GlynB: no, other than is there a job evaluation scheme in place and is it sufficiently robust - does it work? Is what I would say

GlynB: Now there was an agreement nationally that there will be job evaluations and there is. One of the things that UNISON's looking towards and working towards but which a number of police forces have resisted, is to actually have a single understanding of what should be paid for a particular role and it would probably start with something like PCSOs, which are fairly uniform across the country. The understanding of what the job is, is fairly uniform across the country

falkor: [interrupting] and do you back that thought Glyn?

falkor: what are your thoughts on that?

GlynB: on a purely practical level yes I do. From our Force's point of view I'd have concerns that our PCSOs are perhaps more highly paid than a number of surrounding forces and my suspicion would be, that the employers would seek to go to the lowest common denominator rather than the highest, so certainly in principle I think it's a good idea and it would ease a lot of the tensions and difficulties which currently occur. Right across police staff you'll find that those who live in areas that are easily accessable to a neighbouring county, will often go to the other county because they get a better deal. I think particularly people like 'scenes of crime' (SOCO) when they've got a special skill that they can take with them .. I can see that in the long term it would be advantageous particularly as we move towards joint working across several police forces and obviously with the failure of the amalgamation of the Police Forces the drive for joint working that is Level II policing and counter terrorism, Roads Policing and so on is bound to cause difficulties when effectively we're going to have people on different pay and conditions working alongside each other.

falkor: thank you very much, that was very informative

falkor: Now I'm just thinking about into the future here. A lot of PCSOs on the site are wondering if they're going to be given more powers. I mean you get headlines in newspapers listing "THE NEW POWERS" that PCSOs have gained and when you look at it there are actually six powers they give a PCSO, for example to tell a person to put their dog on a lead, fine them for leaving dog excrement on the ground - this sort of thing, when some PCSOs on our site are actually looking to issue endorsable FPNs for instance, do you think that'll ever come?

GlynB: It's a difficult one. Certainly our branch of UNISON and personally I took the view that traffic related issues, were something which the community expected us to be able to deal with

falkor: [interrupting] zig zag lines of a pedestrian crossing! We can't enforce it can we?

GlynB: well you can if you've got the powers of a traffic warden

falkor: what the zig zag lines?

GlynB: yes

falkor: you can issue an FPN(E)

GlynB: yes

falkor: oh

GlynB: yes since the reform of the Functions of Traffic Wardens Order I think in about 1998 . I can't remember exactly, but that's been a power that's been allowed, came in at the same time as you were allowed to do an unnecessary obstruction

falkor: [interrupting] but if you go one stage further and a PCSO happened to see a member of the public going through a red traffic light for instance, they wouldn't be able to do that

GlynB: Not at the moment. That's where we certainly argued from our branch point of view and I know UNISON nationally in their submission on powers, we argued that limited additional traffic powers should be given. We have to balance that against the very vociferous pro car lobby, who would argue that it was yet another attack on the motorist. However those with experience of attending community meetings will know that traffic issues and dog mess and litter are the issues that actually animate communities. You can go into an area that's rife with drug taking and burglary and what have you and when you go to the community meeting, they want to know what you're going to do about the litter. I think that there is a case for that, but clearly there are political constraints that apply. There are sensitivities understandably among police officers that they're having their job whipped out from under them

falkor: [interrupting] well if we're going down that road, what about PCSOs being issued with batons, handcuffs and CS Glyn, this is what some of our members want

GlynB: well I think they may be working in a different set of circumstances from the ones I'm used to

falkor: [laughing]

GlynB: clearly if for instance you're working in a remote location and you're having to effectively arrest people or detain them or whatever, then you might argue that there's a need to be able to do that with cuffs, but the truth of the matter is that the average PCSO is not adequately trained and or certainly hasn't got the requisite powers to deal with most of these issues that are being discussed - now that isn't to say that these things don't occur as a matter of routine when you're on patrol - the difference being that a police officer is absolutely obliged to go and deal, whereas we are not - so you have to make a dynamic risk assessment in any given situation and decide are you going deal with this or not, or are you going to send for assistance. I think it's an extremely difficult one and it's one that I would certainly want a lot more consideration on, before I said yes or no

falkor: but a heck of a lot of PCSO do get self defence training though Glyn don't they?

GlynB: I would hope they all do

falkor: and a lot of that self defence training is done by the instructors who actually teach the PCs handcuffing, so it would be very easy to say "right you've got 3 hours on handcuffing now"

GlynB: It wouldn't be an issue. I suspect rather than having a single day self defence training you then have a 2 day, like they provide for our warrant officers that would cover it - the question is whether it's a necessity and whether it's the right way to go on. Of course some forces like B.T.P have issued handcuffs

falkor: [interrupting] I think North Wales have as well

GlynB: I believe so yes

falkor: what on earth did North Wales do that for?

GlynB: I don't know because I'm not privy to that discussion

falkor: Very interesting though

GlynB: but again while Chief Officers have the authority to make their own decisions in these matters, there will be differences between one force to another and it's not unlike the body armour issue is it? The vast majority of forces issue adequate body armour, but there are forces who don't. Quite why that is I don't know - they must be working very differently to the way we do

falkor: so . regarding the actual membership of UNISON Glyn, I'd just like to ask you this. Say for instance you've got a PCSO who decides "No I'm not going to bother joining UNISON" or in the MET "I'm not going to join PCS" they think "I'm not paying the money out" so then .. the next thing you know, they get a complaint made against them in the street and they turn to their colleagues and say "oh dear now what am I going to do?" and the colleague says "well contact your union rep" I mean they're stuck aren't they?


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

GO TO MENU 17

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.

GlynB: yes they would be

falkor: what can they do? Nothing really

GlynB: While I would always argue that it is essential for somebody to belong to a union or the Federation if they're a bobby, because of that issue, the legal situation is that should they face a disciplinary hearing or investigation, they are entitled to be accompanied by a friend or colleague who works for the same employer. The difficulty being of course, to get somebody to do it and whether that person is actually competent to offer advice and to represent them - so they are in a position of not having to go alone if they can find somebody to go. The difference would be in a union or federation, you would get somebody to go along who had some experience and training in dealing with these issues

falkor: so you should be in a union really

GlynB: I would argue so, but people will make their own minds up on that front, plus there's more to if of course than simply whether or not you depend on it. I went for over 20 years working for South Yorkshire Police, without a single complaint which reached the point of needing a union. So, it was always there in the background and available for me and did other things for me, but I never needed it for that purpose, but others do. What I would say is that in my personal experience I've represented more PCSOs in the last 2 years than I ever represented traffic wardens in 20 years at complaints and discipline

falkor: my god Glyn what's going on?

GlynB: I don't know

falkor: [laughing]

GlynB: I don't know because what I would say again is, that we got less off the cuff spurious complaints when I was a Traffic Warden Supervisor - if I didn't get 2 or 3 telephone complaints a day I assumed nobody was out working

falkor: [laughing]

GlynB: but they were all fatuous - just people getting caught out doing the wrong thing and didn't like it - now complaints against PCSOs tend to be of a more serious nature. They tend to be claims of assault and things like that - which is understandable given the nature of the job. Almost all of them turn out to be false. But there are occasions when there are other interpretations possible and people find themselves in difficulties

falkor: sounds like you're doing a cracking job to me Glyn

GlynB: I'm doing the best I can

falkor: you're very modest Message GlynB

falkor: well thanks very much for phoning

GlynB: no problem

falkor: what a gent you are

GlynB: okay take care jump to SITEMAP

falkor: see you back on the site - bye!

GlynB: bye bye

        

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

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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
Bosnia
TSCOs
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
caravanning
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
rollercoasters
YouTube and the motorway videos
cover shifts | John Child
car stickers and metal badges
#sitememberinterviewGO TO includes

        

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pick an interview to read
view bazza interview view mj12 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