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all in the day of a PCSO ...
Its a mother beautiful bridge and its going to be there
introduction: mj12cz a divisional rural officer with a crucial Czech connection, here is his interview
falkor: hello Patrick
mj12cz: hello falk
falkor: thanks for phoning - how you doing?
mj12cz: not too bad m8, not too bad, how are you?
falkor: not too bad - you working today?
mj12cz: no day off actually, I have just had 2 days off, so I am next working tomorrow and the weekend
falkor: sweet, so what's the flatlands and the badlands then?
mj12cz: ahhhh the flatlands and badlands of Lincolnshire that is
falkor: hehe that is well known to you is it?
mj12cz: yeah it is, I'm a Licolnshire lad by birth, you are on a xxxxxxxx number aren't you?
falkor: how did you recognise it?
mj12cz: I used to work at Cobham, do you know Cobham railway station?
falkor: of course
mj12cz: well do you know the flats there, they used to be a garage?
falkor: yep for sure
mj12cz: I built those
falkor: you built those?
mj12cz: yeah when I was a surveyor I worked for a developer in Cobham and also at Godalming, the ones opposite the railway station at Cobham were the first ones I ever took under my wing
falkor: and now you're a PCSO?
falkor: you WERE a surveyor?
mj12cz: yeah a building surveyor, maintenance surveyor really but I just got fed up with it all really and just wanted to do something different - I really wanted to join the police initially, but I enjoy the PCSO role now so much that I have no intention of joining the regulars - I'm going to keep going at what I'm doing
falkor: well there are just so many ppl on the website that are going for PC at the moment
mj12cz: this is one of the things that I have always had a bit of a bugbear about really, the turnover of PCSOs is quite high
mj12cz: we've been really lucky. at our nick there's only one person who has any intention of leaving and he's already got in the regulars so it's just one of those things
mj12cz: I figure that this role's going to evolve and the role's going to evolve so much that if I stay here long enough y'know, I'll get far on in the role that I'm doing, but apart from that I also enjoy it so why change?
falkor: sounds like you're having a brilliant time
mj12cz: I am. Lincolnshire's a good place to work
falkor: going back to the Cobham flats for a moment, how long were you a building surveyor for?
mj12cz: 12 years
falkor: 12 years [amazed]
falkor: that's all behind you now?
mj12cz: that's all behind me - it was a difficult decision, gave up my company car, my company credit card, my salary - it was my big salary and stuff - y'know - I think my wife thought I'd gone nuts [few seconds silence]
falkor: and your Fiesta just got totalled?
mj12cz: yeah that was really weird because a month, two months earlier there'd been a really nasty triple fatal, where an entire car had been flattened by an artic and I was saying to a couple of colleagues that when I get something else it's going to have to be something a bit bigger and stronger - anyway the day of the morning that it got trashed I drove past the area where the accident was, I said to my colleague "if I have a bump in this I'm going to buy myself a bigger car." Within about a minute the Fiesta had been smashed up
mj12cz: I was just stopped at a roundabout, an artic came over the brow of the hill, couldn't see that there was a line of traffic, due to the early morning sun, hit a van and the van went straight into the back of me
falkor: that is so awful for you Patrick
mj12cz: well it's one of those things, the Fiesta's been written off
falkor: how long had you had it for?
mj12cz: about a year - when I had to give the company car back I went out and bought the Fiesta and I thought 'yeah I'll have it a year before I replace it' and it was literally a year to the date I bought it - to the day
falkor: so now you've got a 4 x 4
mj12cz: yes a little 4 x 4, a little Suzuki Grand Vitara
falkor: you like that?
mj12cz: yeah it's really good actually I put a post on today - I've got to remember that it doesn't handle like a mini cooper it's a bit scary at times, the cornering is a little different but it's a lovely car to drive, nice and solid
mj12cz: no it's a manual diesel
falkor: do you prefer that?
mj12cz: yeah much prefer it - I like the control of a car through the gear box and the clutch
falkor: fair enough
falkor: so - you had a look at ess's Australian advert?
mj12cz: yeah I did
falkor: did you have it on full screen?
mj12cz: yeah I did
falkor: that is absolutely amazing the way that you can pull that down in seconds for a full screen video
mj12cz: it is and I still can't understand really why they've banned it
falkor: I love the opening scene where you've got the bar and the bloke's got the pint of beer waiting for you there, I can't get over how good the quality of that video is
mj12cz: do you mind me asking, are you a computer guy?
falkor: [laughing] no I'm not, I do like to pretend to be though
falkor: I've had a few successes true, but it's all trial and error - I have done things wrong 100 times and right once and you only know about the times I got it right - you wouldn't know about the times that I have got things wrong, well you might remember the famous crash during kipper's marathon run on the first BB house, half way through that I was poncing about trying to get something done and the next thing that happened was, I looked on the forums and there were no members !!!
falkor: the whole lot had just erased - I couldn't believe it - I wasn't even a member myself !!
mj12cz: [still laughing]
falkor: that's a prime example of where it all went bad - I thought "I don't believe it!"
I tell you what I sat there for 5 minutes looking at an empty memberlist and I just sat there thinking "this is a bad dream - in a minute I'll wake up" and that took SO LONG to get put right - this was right in the middle of a great period for kipper's BB HOUSE, that place had really got going, all of a sudden 7 days posts were WIPED, just down the swanny! it was a nightmare!!
mj12cz: [still laughing]
falkor: that was probably one of the worst examples of my computer prowess - my computer science "A level" gained 30 years back, did not help me there, those qualifications are alright for the first couple of years aren't they?
mj12cz: they do go out of date
mj12cz: my father has been in the computer industry since 1968, he was on the old, do you remember the Polaris nuclear subs?
falkor: was he?
mj12cz: he was the second officer on one of those and my brother's seen it
mj12cz: my father's original company was microsoft's first UK importer in 1973 and Dad used to go down to London and have meetings with Bill Gates
mj12cz: yeah times have changed - I was talking to him the other day - I mean he does a similar thing to you - he runs the 'Naval Review' - if you go onto the "Naval Review" website have a look - that's set up and run by my father - he's kind of retired now but he runs it - it's a similar sort of thing to the PCSO one, but he's been in the industry since day one and I said to him "Don't you wish ..... " and he said to me "If I knew then what I know now, I'd be a wealthy man - a very wealthy man" - still ... such is life eh?
falkor: hehe indeed but going back to the forums for a minute Patrick, you chose that YODA avatar?
falkor: you're into Star Wars are you?
mj12cz: yeah I am a little bit
falkor: well 9 other ppl chose your YODA avatar after you did - it's the most popular avatar on the forums
mj12cz: ah well he's the most popular character isn't he?
falkor: you like those star wars ones don't you?
mj12cz: yeah I am a bit of a sci-fi fan - so is my wife
falkor: have you seen the latest STAR WARS films that have come out?
mj12cz: oh yes
falkor: there's six now isn't there?
falkor: what do you think of those?
mj12cz: yeah not bad, but I remember the first ones when they first came out and they've become too technical, do you know what I mean?
mj12cz: they're relying now on too much computer graphics and at the end of the day I still remember Luke Skywalker swinging across the void with Princess Leia - I'm sorry that's just too good to miss
falkor: fair enough, I've got to say that most of those 6 movies I thoroughly enjoy all of 'em - I think there's one of 'em that's a bit duff but in the main, on the whole and in a round about way they're all pretty enjoyable
falkor: but going back to the PCSO theme you were talking on the forums about patrolling with a special - you've done that have you?
mj12cz: yes - we do actually - funnily enough yesterday I thought I'd have a word with my boss about it and we actually cleared it up, we're not allowed to patrol with Specials who are still in their 2 years probation, provided they are over that, it's been agreed that we can patrol with them - we've got a couple of sector officers who come out with us - one in particular is just superb - we do work really well together - in Lincolnshire, PCSOs have limited powers to issue tickets, for some reason they haven't given us parking tickets - we go out and we will take a special out with us and target a specific area
falkor: and the specials can do the parking tickets ?
mj12cz: yes they can yes, the other thing is because of the community policing model we need to use the specials within the community policing model
falkor: [interrupting] but I read on the forums that in the MET, PCSOs cannot patrol with Specials anymore
mj12cz: well up here, certainly within the community policing model they want the Specials to get more and more involved and at the end of the day the PCSOs ARE the community policing model in many ways
falkor: so you're carrying on with your patrolling with specials then
mj12cz: yes we are, obviously with permission of our boss and as long as they're a divisional officer and they've done their 2 years probation then they've got no problem with us
falkor: what have the PCSOs/ Specials patrols encountered?
mj12cz: well we have things called ASB patrols which are anti social behaviour patrols and we all get together, the specials and the PCSOs on a Friday night and what we normally do is one special, one PCSO and we also have 2 or 3 police officers and a CBO floating around - what we would do then is contact the CBO and say "look I've got a problem down here, can you make your way over here" and with the help of the special the CBO will make the arrest
falkor: the CBO?
mj12cz: the Community Beat Officer - it's basically team work, we all work together as a team - that's how it's got to be
falkor: sounds cracking to me Patrick, so moving along onto the pensions situation do you mind saying what your pensions arrangements are?
mj12cz: yeah it's pretty easy really, my house, I've got a property in the Czech republic which my wife and I own outright, I've also got pensions obviously running, I've got the Government pension - Local Government Pension scheme that is and a private pension
falkor: the private pension was from when you were a surveyor?
mj12cz: yes I just went out there and bought one at that time
falkor: you just went out there and bought one? [surprised]
mj12cz: well I contacted my financial adviser, said I want a pension - he said, yeah no problem, he set me one up
falkor: would you mind saying how much a month you were putting into that?
mj12cz: initially £50 a month
falkor: yeah that sounds about right, because if you put more than that in, you can run the danger of soon thinking "hey wait a minute! I have to live life here." is that what you thought at the time?
mj12cz: yeah I agree, for me it's all very well putting money away saving saving saving, but I've got a young family - I've got a wife, we've got to live, we've got to enjoy ourselves
falkor: you were saying that your son has been enjoying "Thomas the tank engine" and "Brum"
falkor: "BRUM" I have never heard of, is that a new one?
mj12cz: I have only ever seen it since he's been watching it on the telly, it's about a little car that drives round
falkor: how old is your son then?
mj12cz: he's 2 years old and my daughter is 4
falkor: and what does she like watching on telly?
mj12cz: she's still into tweenies and stuff like that
falkor: she'll be going to school soon
mj12cz: yes September, she can't wait to go. She's going to pre-school at the moment but I'm a bit like "oooo she's going to be off to school - big lump in the throat" I've gotta take a few days off for her
falkor: well you are such a lucky man, I mean Christmas must be absolute heaven for you
mj12cz: it's chaos, well we have to rotate it because we have to fly over to Czech every other year seeing Maria's parents and we do a Czech Christmas and then we come back to England and have Christmas over here the next year, it's just total chaos
falkor: you are having a wonderful time, you are a very lucky fella
mj12cz: we have to go to Czech and make sure the house is still there as well
falkor: it's empty all the time?
mj12cz: no it's currently lived in by Maria's parents but we're gonna look to build another place out there within the next 10 years and what we'll do is we'll either move them into the place we've built and then us move into the big farmhouse
falkor: errr the big farmhouse?
mj12cz: yeah Maria's family's got 3 houses and about 50 - 60 acres
falkor: and this is what you own?
mj12cz: well they've just put it in our names
falkor: so you're not really bothered about UNISON's crusade to put a vote up for industrial action on pensions, it's virtually irrelevant to you
mj12cz: yeah I look at my pension purely as my beer money for when I retire
mj12cz: HOWEVER I take my hat off to UNISON because I think they've got a point - there's a heck of a lot of ppl who rely on these pensions
falkor: well the situation is that anybody under 53 now, if nothing's done, cannot retire before age 65 without ending up with a much reduced pension - they're not going to get their full pension, this is what it's all about
mj12cz: well UNISON should be fighting this and we should be listening to UNISON
falkor: well they ain't gonna get very far if ppl vote NO
mj12cz: I know what you're saying - I'm not against industrial action however I'm concerned about it within our role
mj12cz: there are things like the Police Federation where they won't back industrial action for obvious reasons and I think they will notice a difference if the PCSOs go on strike - they'll be problems - my worry is that if we PCSOs go on strike it could prove quite detrimental to the local community, for example there could be more antisocial behaviour and we just wouldn't want that. HOWEVER I agree with the principle of the strike and I think any other sector of the government or Local Authority etc and I'd be out on strike
falkor: yes I know what you're saying ... sooooo - your 18 stone brother, he broke his leg on the hillside
mj12cz: yeah he was hillwalking, big lad, diabetic, they told him you gotta lose weight, so he was over in the Peak district walked up the side of a mountain and then fell over and broke his ankle, we had to get mountain rescue down to get him out
falkor: and they were just half a mile away at the time
mj12cz: yes they were doing a training exercise on the other side of the mountain
falkor: how did you do that 1/2 symbol on the forum? there's no key on the keyboard that does that
mj12cz: no you just do 1 forward slash 2 and it automatically jumps it up as a 1/2 symbol
falkor: does it? [disbelief]
mj12cz: yes try it!
falkor: I will .... so you weren't with your brother then?
mj12cz: no it was quite worrying, I got a phone call from him saying I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere, I've got a broken ankle, I'm getting cold
falkor: he was on his own?
mj12cz: yeah he was on his own and it was late afternoon and I said "Where are you?" and he gave me a GPS grid reference, so I rang an ambulance and told him the ambulance was on their way and luckily the local mountain rescue were monitoring the ambulance frequency
falkor: he was just on his own with a mobile phone, if his mobile phone had gone dead he would have been knackered
mj12cz: he would have been screwed yeah
falkor: what were you doing when you got the phone call?
mj12cz: I was having dinner actually
mj12cz: actually we were having dinner because we were meant to be going out and I said "I'm sorry" and I grabbed my Dad and my Dad and I legged it up and picked up his car and by the time we got up there, mountain rescue had got him off the side of the mountain and were getting him in the ambulance off to Sheffield Hospital, where he spent 4 days in hospital
falkor: so you went and saw him did you?
mj12cz: yeah .... I couldn't help but take the piss
mj12cz: I just had to
mj12cz: it was a really bad break though, he broke the two bones on the heel and the main femur or whatever it is, he split it upwards
falkor: well how did that happen? he was just walking along and he fell over?
mj12cz: no he was just climbing off a stile and as he got off the stile, he slipped on some mud and it just went SNAP
falkor: oh my goodness that is a nightmare
mj12cz: yes it was quite bad - the worst of it was that he was getting cold and he was getting tired and he's diabetic
falkor: how long has he been diabetic for?
mj12cz: he was diagnosed diabetic just after my wedding, so it'll be 6 years
falkor: that is so awful
mj12cz: yeah it's quite serious the diabetes he's got - the only time that I had a problem with it, was when we were in a restaurant - it was just after I was married - he came out to dinner and he says "oh I'm just going to give myself a jab" and I said "alright" thinking he'd probably just nip off to the toilet and do it discretely - middle of the restaurant he lifts up his shirt gets out his pen sticks it in him that's it, I think everybody thought "my god what the hell are you doing?"
falkor: they all do that you know, I have seen a couple of diabetics do that, they have no consideration for other ppl do they?
mj12cz: well this is it, I said to him "what the bloody hell do you think you're doing?"
mj12cz: he said "well the doctor told me never to be emabarassed and that I can do it anywhere"
falkor: that's what the Dr said?
mj12cz: yeah they said it's like breast feeding
falkor: well I don't know .... CHARMING
mj12cz: yeah that's what I think
falkor: hmmmm well, what else have you got to tell me?
mj12cz: one little thing at the moment we've got in Lincolnshire an awful lot of immigrants here - there's now a real hostility towards them and I just don't understand it - my wife is an immigrant worker in many ways - these guys they're coming over here - they're working to fill a job that a lot of ppl don't want
mj12cz: we've got a PCSO - she's actually now seconded to HQ but as a PCSO she was superb and she is polish and is absolutely brilliant at the job she was and the other thing that was great was that we had a personal translator on site all the time
mj12cz: she works now as a diversity officer up at HQ
falkor: so what KIND of hostility are you talking about anyway Patrick?
mj12cz: in one of the local towns there's an awful lot of portuguese, there's a lot of Lithuanians and from the locals there's quite a lot of hostility
falkor: in what way though?
mj12cz: well we've had some riots
falkor: RIOTS? [shock]
mj12cz: small ones really, an awful lot of graffiti - if you look on the statistics there's one town and it was shown to have a 48% increase in racial hatred and that is because in the last 2 years, that town has filled up with workers to do the jobs that we didn't want to do
falkor: and that is the town where you're working
mj12cz: no I work in the next door town
falkor: oh the next town down
falkor: well I don't know what to say to that really
mj12cz: I just don't understand it personally. I think we're all part of Europe, we're all human beings, it's something that I just can't get my head around and if ppl have got a problem with it, then they should go out and speak to these ppl
mj12cz: I mean the way of life out in Europe is very very different to ours
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.
mj12cz: y'know there are problems with things like them not taxing vehicles and insuring the vehicles and stuff, but that's for us to deal with and we do do everything we can when we do see them, we do take the vehicles under SOCAP the more they're likely to learn hey maybe I should insure it
falkor: you've been taking a few vehicles?
mj12cz: not myself, well I have under s59
falkor: hold on a minute, there's two? there's a s59 AND a SOCAP?
mj12cz: yeah s59 2002 Police Reform Act
falkor: [interrupting] yeah I know that one
mj12cz: yeah and under SOCAP - the new rules - if the vehicle's uninsured, traffic units can just turn up and if it's uninsured take the vehicle
falkor: oh yes, I forgot all about this, the MET have just issued guidelines on this excellent piece of new legislation, it IS in place but because of difficulties with 'seized vehicle STORAGE' the MET have issued guidance that ONLY on pre-planned events where 'seized vehicle storage' is already organised in advance, will that power be used by MET officers - so in Lincolnshire you can just do it off the cuff can you?
mj12cz: well yeah and under s59 the PCSOs can seize 'em and we've done that
falkor: and the MET PCSOs have been stopped from doing s59s
mj12cz: yeah they've now been stopped from doing that, but in Licolnshire the traffic officers seize the vehicle, I had one the other night - I knew it was uninsured - no tax, motorcycle it was - rang it through - got a traffic unit down there within about a minute - which is amazing - traffic contact a local scrappie or a local car whatever and they come down and they take the vehicle and they hold it for 21 days
falkor: and how did the motorcyclist react to all this?
mj12cz: oh he was furious
falkor: was he?
mj12cz: however he was 15, he had no helmet and no insurance
falkor: and you saw him riding down the road?
falkor: how did you manage to stop him?
mj12cz: under s59 we can
falkor: so you just pointed to him and gave a stop signal? put your hand up?
mj12cz: yeah it was actually my colleague stopped him, I saw him go past down one road, noticed he had no helmet so took off after him to see if I could follow him, or see if I could recognise him
falkor: but he could have just driven past your colleague
mj12cz: yeah yeah quite right
falkor: so he just stopped?
mj12cz: yes he stopped because we knew him - he was one of our local targets - we know him very very well
falkor: so you had such a good result there
mj12cz: yeah it was quite a good litle job, we took the bike off him and so on, it's actually being crushed as we speak - we've done that 3 or 4 times with driving along or walking along - a motorcyclist has gone past, we shout up - get another unit at the end of the road, we've had some real successes
mj12cz: the other thing that we've had real success with as PCSOs in Lincolnshire is hare coursing
falkor: my god ... hare coursing?
falkor: what the heck is that?
mj12cz: obviously it's trespass but also under the new 'hunting with hounds' it's again illegal but it drives the farmers nuts because it's also criminal damage
falkor: was does it mean though?
mj12cz: hare coursing is basically 2 or 3 dogs or a dog chasing a hare on private property
mj12cz: what it is usually is a field that's been freshly drilled, so when the dogs go haring across the field, they'll churn up the ground and they're damaging the crop, but under the new 'hunting with hounds bill' whether we agree with the bill or not, it is an illegal sport
falkor: so how do you get involved in that Patrick?
mj12cz: basically what we do is - we know there are 3 or 4 areas that the hare coursers go to - because I'm a divisional rural officer I will go up to those areas and we've got an unmarked car so we lurk and we see 'em and we shout up for either another unit or the rural task force - we've got this thing called the rural task force and what they do is, they'll come along and if they make off, we usually follow them and then we'll talk the police unit into their location and they stop the car and arrest them
falkor: hold on a minute - where's the evidence?
mj12cz: the evidence comes from usually the farmer who's rung it in or a statement from us and we've literally just seen them doing it and they've been prosecuted on the back of the statement
falkor: when you say you've seen them doing it, what does that mean? what have you seen them do?
mj12cz: what we've seen is them pulling up in their van - what they normally do is drive slowly along the side of the field and they're looking across with a pair of binoculars to find a hare, when they spot one they stop - open up the back of the van, let the dog out - the dog guns it across the field - gets the hare or doesn't get the hare and then they usually have to go off and walk across the field, to get the hare back
falkor: and you started off by saying this is normally in a field that has been freshly drilled
mj12cz: freshly drilled or freshly cut
falkor: I don't understand the 'drilled'
mj12cz: drilled is putting the seed down - when you plough a field you turn it over it's quite lumpy, it's not so good for hare coursing - when you drill it you smooth it off and you put the seed in the ground
falkor: you are working in such a different world
mj12cz: yeah it's rural Lincolnshire
falkor: so you said the person gets arrested, then what?
mj12cz: they get taken to court, prosecuted, there's two things that we can do - if the vehicle's got a s59 notice on it we'll seize the vehicle on the spot - secondly they'll get prosecuted under the new 'hunting with hounds' bill and we're finding that the days when the old hare coursers were getting a £30 fine and a slap on the wrist and 'naughty boy' are well gone, the three fines that we got this year were over £2000, big fines, £700 and £800 fines each
falkor: well that's not playing about is it?
falkor: well Patrick it's been a pleasure talking to you, you've been an absolute star - you've been so nice to talk to I've enjoyed every second of it
mj12cz: good oh falk
falkor: thanks very much I'll get it all typed up
mj12cz: congrats on the site by the way, it's a cracker
falkor: oh thanks - it's only because of ppl like you of course
falkor: cheers Patrick
mj12cz: take care, bye interview concluded 3pm 10.3.06 mj12cz back in his old surveyor days - here he is in nuclear bunker 2 of 14 (Peak District)
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all in the day of a PCSO ...