Page 9 of 12 A R C H I V E S
Police are obsessed by diversity,
says Britain's oldest bobby
As Britain's oldest bobby on the beat, Mick Mountain has certainly been around the block a few times.
But with four decades' experience under his belt, he has warned proper policing is being hampered by an obsession with diversity and human rights legislation.
And he has criticised lax sentencing, which means criminals feel free to indulge in violence without fear of punishment.
Mr Mountain, 60, who will become the nation's longest-serving officer in April, said: "There are many more laws dealing with diversity and equality, which have been triggered by the compensation culture.
"When it gets to the point where councils cannot even put up Christmas trees, it seems ridiculous. I do not believe we are going in the right direction.
"It means we do not have enough police on the streets where we need them. Community support officers are no replacement - they are not proper police officers and do not have the same powers of arrest.
"Criminals are more likely to attack officers these days because they do not have the fear of being punished. They are also more likely to turn violent during less serious crimes such as burglaries.
"I have been left with a bloody nose and punched in the face. You get less respect wearing the uniform whereas in the old days, it was a deterrent. Now criminals simply laugh because they know nothing will happen to them.
"With not enough room in prison they know they are going to get away with a fine or community service rather than being sent to jail. It is all wrong. Society is getting the policing it deserves."
Mr Mountain joined the Met police in 1966 at the age of 19 after 13 weeks training and was assigned a post at Wimbledon police station, south London.
He served there for 16 years and saw the funeral of fellow policeman Mick Davies, who was stabbed to death while off-duty on Wimbledon Common in 1969.
After 16 years in the district, he transferred to neighbouring Mitcham before joining the territorial support group dealing with major incidents in 1990.
Five years later the father-of-two from south London was assigned his current role as a security officer at the Houses of Parliament. When he started working in 1966 he was armed with just a truncheon and a uniform.
Now he goes to work with a stab and bulletproof vest and an armed police back-up just a call away. Mr Mountain, who was awarded a medal for long service in 1988, will become the longest-serving officer in April when he tops 41 years in the force. Before the law changed last October, officers had to retire after a maximum 41 years.
He said: "I have always felt like the oldest, particularly with the territorial support group where everyone was in their 20s.
"But I am fitter than most 60-year-olds and plan to keep working until I am 65. Despite the changes in practice it does make me proud to think I have served this long.
"I have never wanted to work my way up the ranks as I prefer being a public face of policing and meeting people. The best thing about the job is the comradeship and the buzz you get from doing the job."
In keeping with his long service, Mr Mountain will celebrate his 40th wedding anniversary to medical librarian Marion, 58, in two years.
Met chief superintendent David Commins last night paid tribute to him saying: "He has given 40 years fantastic service."
Cuts in police community support officers blasted
By Rob Devey
THE number of Police Community Support Officers planned for Bolton is being slashed following a reduction in Government funding. It had been hoped the town would have 90 PCSOs by April, 2008 - 39 more than at present. But the total number has now been reduced to 70.
The cuts have sparked angry criticism from Greater Manchester Police chiefs.
Chief Supt Dave Lea, head of Bolton police, said: "The simple and stark fact is that we're now not going to be able to have the numbers of visible uniformed patrolling officers we had planned." The Government has decided to cut funding for PCSOs nationally from £340 million to £235 million.
Money remains in place to recruit 16,000 more across the country by April, 2007, but funding for a further 8,000 over 2007/08 has been lost. The 974 PCSOs Greater Manchester Police had planned to recruit by April, 2008, is likely to be slashed by about a third.
Government policing minister Tony McNulty said he and Home Secretary John Reid had accepted police advice that 24,000 PCSOs were not needed.
But Cllr Cox said: "What the police asked for was flexibility to use the money for PCSOs to recruit more regular officers or more office staff to put existing officers back on the beat.
"The Government has reduced the number of PCSOs but we are not getting the money back."
Cllr Cox said the force was losing 201 police officers during 2006/07, with seven of them in Bolton. He added. "We wanted to retain officers at their current levels and add PCSOs to the mix."
Chief Supt Lea, said: "This is a real disappointment because we had planned our deployment and delivery of safer neighbourhood policing based upon what we were told by the Government.
"The numbers of visible uniformed patrolling officers are just not going to be there because I can't find that money from any other source.
"We are going to have to get our thinking caps on because we've made committments to the public of Bolton."
Bolton currently has 51 PCSOs. They do not have the power of arrest but can detain a suspect for 30 minutes and have limited powers to tackle problems such as anti-social behaviour.
11:19am Tuesday 26th December 2006
John Child cartoons!
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DECEMBER 2006 issue of 'Police'
Government cut CSO targets for recruitment
The government is cutting recruitment targets for CSOs by a third before neighbourhood teams are in place next year.
Tony McNulty, police minister, announced that forces do not ‘necessarily need’ 24,000 community support officers and funding would only be available for 16,000 officers.
But the announcement on specific grant settlements comes at the same time the government is considering giving chief officers flexibility on how they spend the crime fighting fund, currently ring-fenced for recruiting police officers. This would allow forces to spend the funding on community support officers or police staff.
Mr McNulty told Parliament: “We are making these changes in response to requests from the police service itself for greater flexibilities and freedoms in order to decide locally the best way of delivering visible, responsive, and accessible policing.”
However, Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation, has expressed concerns about the flexibility given to chief officers on the crime fighting fund. Evidence from some local federations has shown the numbers of officers are being reduced while numbers of CSOs are increased.
Paul Kelly, chairman of Manchester Police Federation, told Police magazine that he believed the introduction of neighbourhood policing with the CSO as its ‘bedrock’ has failed.
He said: “The experiment failed and failed miserably – no disrespect to the fine men and women who become CSOs – it is not their fault.”
But he added: “You cannot send a soldier out to fight a battle unarmed and untrained – be clear, we are in a war [against criminals].
Why do we allow this government to continue wasting our tax pounds on this ridiculous experiment?”
Police limit new powers for PCSOs
By James Glover, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:36am GMT 24/12/2006
Plans to give police community support officers (PCSOs) extra powers have been scaled back after senior officers voiced concerns.
As part of its efforts to reduce street crime, the Home Office had suggested handing PCSOs an additional 39 powers, including the right to search suspects for weapons, seize drugs and confiscate alcohol and tobacco.
In August last year, Charles Clarke, then home secretary, asked police forces in England and Wales, police authorities and unions for their responses to the proposals. Embarrassingly for Mr Clarke's successor, John Reid, many of those consulted informed ministers that they did not believe that PCSOs required a raft of extra powers. The Association of Police Authorities said it was concerned that some of the proposed powers were not appropriate to be given to all PCSOs.
One senior police officer told The Sunday Telegraph: "PCSOs need the power to detain but not much more. The public love them and they are seen as the friendly face of policing. We don't want to give them too many extra powers which will create a second tier of policing. Police officers should be enforcing the law and PCSOs should be helping with community issues and minor disputes."
As a result of the unenthusiastic response, Mr Reid has decided to reduce the proposed list of additional powers for PCSOs. A spokesman for the Home Office said a revised set of proposals was expected to be sent out for consideration early next year.
The first PCSOs began patrolling in 2002. Nicknamed "Blunkett's bobbies" after David Blunkett, who introduced them when home secretary, the PCSOs drew criticism from many rank and file officers who claimed that they were a gimmick.
PCSOs receive only three weeks' training before being sent out on duty and very few are able to make arrests or are even equipped with handcuffs. There are currently 7,000 in service.
24 December 2006
Police reception officers could face unemployment
Civilian staff employed by the Met Police are facing an uncertain New Year after a leaked email revealed they could be out of work by April.
The Met is proposing to reconsider the role of station reception officers (SROs) and replace them on the front desk with Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).
Staff at Chiswick police station in the High Road are unhappy and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) have released a statement blasting the Met for "taking the eyes and ears off the street in their agenda to police London as cheaply as they can".
One SRO at Chiswick who wanted to remain anonymous said: "It's scandalous to leave us guessing about our jobs, especially at this time of year.
"We are either expected to do a harder job for the same money or move aside."
However, Superintendent Clive Chalk of Hounslow police insists the concept is at a very early stage.
He said: "The Met is exploring the role of the SRO and looking to expand what they do. It gives them the chance work in other areas."
He also emphasised that the PCSOs working in front offices will be well trained.
Reception officers are the first people that members of the public see when they enter a police station.
They also gather evidence which could be presented in court and are trained in dealing with vulnerable witnesses and victims of crime.
Their role mirrors that of police officers but they cannot make arrests.
The proposals would see SROs replaced by PCSOs, whose main purpose currently is to patrol the community and provide a reassuring presence and back up for police officers.
The decision was taken after the Greater London Authority agreed to give the Met 4,000 PCSOs to patrol the streets of London.
Paul Edwards, PCSO local representative, said: "We fear our jobs going will result in a real reduction in the face to face service local people get from the police.
"Coupled with this are plans to reduce every borough's 24-hour police stations which means that people in London are paying more but getting less policing for their money."
Sunday 31st December 2006
Wife praises stabbed 'cop'
By ANDY RUSSELL
December 06, 2006
A POLICE worker fighting for life after being stabbed in the neck joined the force “to do something worthwhile”, his wife said yesterday.
Andie Etchells told how husband Gary quit his theatre boss job to become a police community support officer.
Brave Gary, 47, who had no power to arrest, was knifed while helping evict a former karate teacher from his rented home.
The dad-of-four had emergency surgery and was said to be critical but improving last night. Andie, 45, said: “He’s a caring, generous and genuine man. If you don’t like Gary, then there’s something wrong with you.
“Gary decided to become a PCSO because he wanted to do something more worthwhile.
“He is one of those guys who will never tell you about all his achievements even though he does such a fantastic job.”
The support officer — whose normal duties include dealing with litter — was helping three bailiffs and five housing association officials with an eviction for non payment of rent in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, on Monday.
The tenant is regarded locally as an eccentric and a loner.
He had earlier warned police: “My home is my castle, the law will back me up.”
Gary, of Glossop, Derbys, had a kitchen knife waved in his face. The £16,000-a-year officer urged the tenant to drop the weapon but it was plunged into his neck.
The attacker then threw hot water over the officials as they gave first aid.
Questions are now being asked about why a non-regular police officer who was not wearing body armour was sent to the incident.
Greater Manchester Police insisted regular cops were sent but Gary got there first and the eviction bid went ahead before they arrived.
Ex-gas fitter Albert Williams, 63, was still being quizzed last night.
6 Dec 2006
Police are branded scrooges over cuts to PCSOs’ wages
A COUNCILLOR has branded Cheshire Police "Scrooges" after they decided to cut their community support officers’ salaries by up to £2,000 a year at a time when they are desperate for new recruits. The decision to drop PCSO salaries down from scale five (£18,507 - £20,214) to scale four (£16,203 – £17,967) was taken by an evaluation panel made up of specially trained police staff and officers earlier this month.
Now Poynton Parish Councillor Lawrence Clarke fears that the move, taken at the height of a drive for new PCSOs, will discourage recruits and make it hard to keep hold of existing officers.
PCSOs have the small comfort of knowing that their pay will be ring-fenced at current levels for the next four years and that their union UNISON will lodge an appeal this January.
He said: "In Poynton, we have two PCSOs part funded by the council and another two to come.
"I would be interested to see if these savings were passed onto us.
"I am surprised by this news. PCSOs have been a success in Poynton and I think this will cause problems with retention and recruitment of staff. The timing isn’t great either – it seems Cheshire Police are being quite Scrooge-like."
Chris Dilworth, Head of Resourcing for Cheshire Police, said PCSOs were given the scale five pay in 2003 partly because they had the power to detain with reasonable force.
He said that power had never been taken up in the county and would now not be.
For principally that reason, the panel decided the PCSOs should drop a scale – although if they were given more powers, their salary would be re-evaluated.
He added: "We have had no resignations as yet and hopefully we won’t have.
"Our PCSOs are the best paid in the North West and their salaries are still competitive and comparable with other forces."
22 Nov 2006
conducted in 2007
Top Site Interviews
Controversy over stab vest decision
By Corinne McPartland
THERE has been a mixed response to police community support officers (PCSO) being given stab vests.
North Kent PCSOs are among the first in England to be issued with stab vests to protect them if they are attacked.
More than 80 PCSOs were given the high-visibility vests three weeks ago as a compulsory piece of equipment to be worn over their uniforms.
But the Kent Police Federation has condemned the need for PCSOs to have stab vests, saying their job is supposed to be non-confrontational.
The federation represents police officers from constables up to detective inspectors.
Federation chairman Ian Pointon said: "I am angry they have been given the vests because they are slowly turning into police officers.
"I can understand some of them don't want to be police officers but in reality they are the cheap alternative to the real thing.
"They were put on to the streets in the run-up to an election so the Government could make the public feel safer.
"It just annoys me because now they have got the vests they will be issued with things such as pepper spray and batons next.
"For PCSOs to have a non-confrontational role they are supposed to walk away from any kind of situation which is volatile, so what is the point in issuing them?"
However, PCSO Lisa Breeze is glad she has been given her vest despite initially being apprehensive about it.
The 27-year-old, who patrols the Greenhithe and Swanscombe area, said: "I do feel safer wearing it if anything did happen.
"I do think it is right we have been given them because we are out on the streets all the time and you can never tell what is round the corner.
"Some of the residents on our patrol have said they are glad we have been given them because at the end of the day they are for our protection."
9:56am Thursday 9th November 2006
John Child !
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PCSOs come to the rescue
By Sarah Newstead
A man wielding a handgun was disarmed by two quick-thinking Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) on Twickenham riverside.
A member of the public approached the patrolling PCSOs and gave a description of a man with a handgun close to the Embankment.
Stavroula Georgiou, 26, and David O'Roarty, 43, of the West Twickenham Safer Neighbourhoods Team (SNT), reported the sighting over the radio and went to investigate.
PCSO Georgiou said: "We had hoped to view him from a safe distance, but we rounded a corner and he was right in front of us. There were lots of people around."
With no time to wait for further assistance, the PCSOs took the decision to disarm the man who was pointing the gun into the river.
Mr O'Roarty, who has only been a PCSO for eight weeks, said: "We are not specifically supposed to do this, but we were concerned about a play park over the road. When confronted with a situation like this we have to take a decision."
The man, a Polish national in his twenties, handed over the firearm which he said was an antique that he bought earlier that day.
PCSO Georgiou said: "He didn't realise that he had done anything wrong."
PCSO O'Roarty said: "He claimed he could sell the gun in Poland for a lot of money. But when the Trojan Firearms Team turned up, they said the gun was capable of firing."
A plain-clothes officer along with officers from the specialist firearms department arrived on the scene and the man was arrested for possession of a firearm.
West Twickenham SNT leader, Sgt Nick Woodward, praised his two officers for their involvement in the fast-moving incident."I'm very proud of the calmness and professionalism of Stavroula and David."
12:50pm Friday 20th October 2006
Ex-police chief hits at 'cheap' option
Sep 19 2006
By Andrew Heath
A HUGE hike in the number of community support officers in Warwickshire was today condemned by a former top policeman.
Peter Joslin, former chief constable of Warwickshire Police, said the plans were policing on the cheap.
Under the measures, the force expects to nearly treble the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) in the county from the current figure of 63 to 187 by April 2008.
It means about one in six officers in Warwickshire will be a PCSO, who have significantly fewer powers than regular police officers. Mr Joslin, who headed the force for 15 years until 1998, today criticised the proposal.
He said: "It is about time they learned the lesson that there is no replacement for professional police officers.
"They will say: 'Look how many additional people we have on the beat now.'
"But cheap is cheap. You only ever get what you pay for in life.
"I have nothing against PCSOs as individuals but they just won't get the same training as proper officers.
"They always have to go around in pairs and whenever anything serious happens they have to call a proper PC.
"Surely they would be better saving the cash and investing in extra PCs."
PCSOs are paid £10,000 a year less than a regular officer.
Although they do have the right to detain suspected offenders for up to 30 minutes until a police officer arrives, PCSOs are unable to intervene in high-risk situations, make arrests, investigate or report crime.
They can issue fixed penalty tickets for minor antisocial behaviour and enter and search premises to save lives or prevent serious damage.
PCSOs can also use reasonable force to detain a person under certain circumstances.
But Dave Shirley, PCSO coordinator, defended the use of the community officers and said they provided an excellent link between Warwickshire Police and local communities.
He said they provided good intelligence and been received well by people worried about crime, who would normally have to speak to officers over the phone. He added: "This is great news for the people of Warwickshire as the new PCSOs will be an additional resource providing a visible police presence.
"It's an extremely interesting role and one in which each individual can make a difference to the community they police."
So far, Warwickshire Police have approached the Peugeot workforce and attended job fairs to try to boost recruitment.
For information on becoming a PCSO, call the recruiting team on 01926 415 052.
'Not enough parking tickets' say towns
17 October 2006 | 08:07
ANGRY residents have urged Suffolk police to enforce parking restrictions more rigorously after it was revealed that only one ticket is handed out every two weeks in some market towns.
In a six-month period from April to September there were just 15 parking tickets issued in Aldeburgh, while there were only 14 in Leiston, 12 in Framlingham and 11 in Saxmundham.
But there were seven tickets in Woodbridge in September alone, along with 16 warning notices and 16 verbal warnings.
The role of traffic wardens has been taken over by community support officers, employed by Suffolk police, who have a range of responsibilities.
Anne-Marie Breach, a Suffolk police spokeswoman, confirmed: “We do not have traffic wardens in east Suffolk any more.
“We have community support officers who do patrol and we also have police officers who have the same powers to ticket.”
John Digby, former mayor of Aldeburgh, said yesterday: “We park where we like in Aldeburgh, that is what it amounts to.
“Traffic enforcement is not taking place and in the height of the season people are abusing the system because they know that there is not a traffic warden about 99% of the time.
“In August and July it was mayhem. I know that there is no easy solution but if people parked only for two hours and then moved on, that would free up the space for someone else.
“We did have a traffic warden and she sorted it out but now she is a community support officer and has other duties.
“One motorist parked for three days on a two-hour waiting limit - that was taking the mickey.”
Colin Ginger, a Leiston town councillor, said: “I think it's a very poor service we've got at the moment in the town. To see a traffic warden here is as scarce as seeing a Suffolk horse.
“We've got a parking problem in 'no waiting areas'. Cars can be parked just inside really busy junctions in a 'no waiting area' - that's just unacceptable.
“Our people pay their poll tax like everyone else but they are not getting the same service. We've either got to have one of these special officers in the town or revert back to traffic wardens but we can't just live in limbo.”
Marian Andrews, a Saxmundham town councillor, said: “If the traffic warden job comes under the police we need more police presence or traffic wardens need to be a separate entity organised by the county council.
“Our traffic warden re-trained as a CPO (community police officer) and I have to admit I haven't seen her in the town myself for a while.”
MP Stewart Jackson says he is concerned that the number of full-time police officers in the Northern Division has fallen.
According to figures obtained from the Home Office, there were 356 officers serving the division, which covers the Peterborough area at the end of March 2004. This figure fell to 317 in March this year.
Mr Jackson said: “I am disappointed that the number of full-time police officers is continuing to fall, especially when the population of the city is rising.
“This is not what local residents want to see when they pay for rises in council tax.
“Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are not substitutes for full-time officers.”
However, Chief Superintendent Paul Phillipson, said the figures were misleading.
He said: “Officer numbers in Peterborough have not been reduced. That is a simple fact.
“Overall officer numbers in Peterborough do fluctuate for many reasons, but the core number of officers policing the city’s streets remains the same.
“We have recently changed the way some specialist policing areas, such as roads policing and major investigations, are managed. Instead of being managed at divisional level they are run centrally, providing a much enhanced service.
“Although this has impacted on the number of officers managed by the division, it has had no impact on the actual number of ‘beat bobbies’.
“We have significantly enhanced our neighbourhood presence in recent months, recruiting more PCSOs.
“We have not and will not reduce the number of beat officers policing city streets.”
10 October 2006
By Citizen reporter
AN operation targeting low level nuisance in Bishop's Stortford saw police community support officers confiscate lager and spirits from youths and dish out a caution for drugs possession on Friday.
Five police community support officers, a special police constable and a constable took part in the initiative - an ongoing operation codenamed Operation Attitude - breaking up groups of up to 100 youths who had gathered on tBishop's Stortford High School and Windhill Primary School premises.
It resulted in the confiscation of 22 cans of lager, three bottles of vodka and other bottles of spirits.
During the patrols, community support officers also searched a 17-year-old youth and his vehicle in Stortford Hall Park, finding a bag containing six grammes of herbal cannabis. The youth, from Bishop's Stortford, was given a caution.
Community police inspector Paul Lawrence hailed the results as "positive" and said the operation shows the valuable work carried out by PCSOs.
He said: "This operation shows community support officers and constables working together to tackle minor nuisance and anti-social behaviour. The confiscation of alcohol from minors is important as it can help disorderly behaviour later on. It also sends a massage that it is not acceptable."
9:10am Thursday 21st September 2006
New powers to detain suspects
POLICE Community Support Officers in Nottinghamshire have been given new powers to detain suspects of low-level crime and anti-social behaviour who refuse to give their name and address.
A PCSO can require the name and address of a person who they think has committed a fixed penalty offence, such as disorder, cycling on a footway, dog fouling or dropping litter, or anti-social behaviour.
The new power to detain can be used where the suspect refuses to give their name and address or the PCSO believes they have given false details.
In these circumstances, a PCSO may require the suspect to wait with them for up to 30 minutes for the arrival of a police officer unless the person chooses to accompany the PCSO to a police station. The PCSO can use reasonable force to prevent the suspect from absconding.
On the arrival of a police officer, the PCSO must transfer custody of the suspect to them. Assistant Chief Constable Sue Fish welcomed the new power and said: "Police Community Support Officers provide a visible and reassuring uniformed presence on the streets and are vital to the development of neighbourhood policing in Nottinghamshire.
"The power to detain will help us to deal more effectively with disorder and anti-social behaviour, which spoil the quality of life in local communities.
"By April 2008, there will be more than 400 PCSOs working in Nottinghamshire and it is essential that they have the necessary powers to deal with community issues quickly and effectively."
The power to detain has been available to PCSOs in the force's South Nottinghamshire division since 1 February 2006 as part of a pilot project.
Between the start of February and the end of April 36 people were detained by PCSOs in a total of 26 incidents. The majority of PCSOs who used the power felt it enhanced their credibility with the public and contributed to their effectiveness, particularly in dealing with incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Of the 36 people detained in the first three months of the pilot project, 19 were subsequently arrested. This resulted in nine people being charged, three adults being cautioned, four juveniles being reprimanded or given a final warning, two people given Fixed Penalty Notices, two drug seizures and one missing person identified and returned home.
The person detained by the PCSO must be allowed to go if a police officer does not arrive within 30 minutes. And although PCSOs receive basic training in self-defence, they are not expected to put themselves or anyone else at risk of physical injury.
Reasonable force depends on the behaviour of the detainee, but is expected to be mostly limited to placing a hand on the detained person's shoulder or a similar action.
The person is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of up to £1,000 if they fail to comply with the requirement to wait for a police officer to attend, make off while subject to such a requirement, or make off while accompanying the PCSO to a police station.
15 September 2006
this is a site set up and paid for by PCSO's.
Many PCSO's feel they need something which is entirely theirs and this is it!!
It was designed for PCSO's to send in their stories or letters which would be mainly uncensored (something about which many have complained) Obviously some censorship is always necessary, but in the main everything on the site is as it was when it was sent in by PCSO's from around the country, the site is similar to a blog as some stories are left on the site for some time before being removed and replaced with updated ones. If their is enough demand a blog forum may well be created for PCSO's to leave their permanent stories, the message here is use it or loose it
18 Aug 2006
click this piccie to download the 1MB calendar right click and "SAVE TARGET AS" to save easily
just click on the image shown or RIGHT CLICK and "save target as" the calendar is in pdf format and will look great in your office, bedroom, lounge or even your Dad's study!
the calendar has been completed by London graduate John Child who is currently working in Graphic Design. He has a very dry sense of humour and has an uncanny knack of summing up the present day 'PCSO scene' in his cracking "ON THE BEAT" cartoons!
Prison Officers PCSOs H A T O S Windsor Safari
Prison Officers H A T O S Police Community Support officer