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all in the day of a PCSO ...
our very own counsellor: sueb! * interview VI *
introduction: with 1 year in as a PCSO, sueb thai boxing and Aikido expert, here she is interviewed by falkor
sueb: Sue here
sueb: I'm phoning for the interview
falkor: the interview?
falkor: what interview?
sueb: the one you said I should do today
falkor: oh yeah, just kidding, yeah that would be good, let me just turn this tape recorder on, the last time I did some taping like this it was last year
falkor: it's quite a laugh isn't it?
sueb: it depends what questions you ask
falkor: well it's a two way thing, you can ask me questions too
sueb: ok. right
falkor: you used to work as Security in the Bridges didn't you? I've just been checking into some old posts, where you described looking on the cameras and seeing one of your guards outside the building in trouble with a drunken woman, do you remember that?
sueb: aye I do
falkor: do you miss those days Sue?
sueb: certainly, I miss the workers like, you get a good rapport going don't you?
falkor: cause that's where you got to know your local PCSOs
sueb: yes it was, they were really a great help and brand new out too, the first PCSOs in Sunderland, new, nice and shiny
falkor: do you still see any of them now?
sueb: I do actually, I'm still working with some of them now - some of them trained me - they were good trainers like
falkor: that is amazing and how long were you working in the security business for, before joining up as a PCSO?
sueb: 2 years
falkor: well you're a youngster you are, 24
sueb: yes but I wouldn't say it was young
falkor: when you look at the members on our site, you're one of the youngest members, we have quite a few double that age, me included!!
falkor: so you have your whole life ahead of you, any ambitions?
sueb: well I want to be in the police force and in the dog section really
falkor: have you got any dogs of your own Sue?
sueb: did have 2, a lovely black labrador and an alsation
falkor: what happened to them then?
sueb: the alsation had to be put down and the labrador died
falkor: that's terrible, you must be very sad about that
sueb: I am but it was a little while ago now
falkor: what's the pay like as a PCSO? is it a lot more than when you were in security?
sueb: a heck of a lot more
falkor: you were a supervisor in security
sueb: still didn't draw much pay though
falkor: I saw the photos of you in the paper, when you got that award, you looked pretty posh in your uniform
sueb: [laughing] I wouldn't exactly have said posh
falkor: you were pretty pleased at the time I remember
sueb: well we came out best in the country
falkor: and what about your skydiving, are you still doing that?
sueb: not lately
falkor: how many sky dives have you done then?
falkor: 1000? crikey that is amazing
sueb: the rush you get when you jump is something else
falkor: 1000 jumps is just incredible, is that the average amount or what?
sueb: ppl have got more than that, some have been doing it for 25 years
falkor: so were you in a club?
sueb: yes the Peter Lee parachute club in Durham
falkor: have you got many photos of yourself sky diving?
sueb: not of me, but I've taken photos of other people
falkor: what got you into that then?
sueb: my ex
falkor: so how far did you go down then, what are we talking about a mile or something?
sueb: the first jump you get taken on is from 13,000 feet, then after that it's from 15,000 feet
falkor: no injuries then?
sueb: no, I didn't get any injuries, a few of my friends did like
falkor: what happened to them then?
sueb: broken fibias
falkor: how did that happen?
sueb: bad landings really
falkor: but you did 1000 jumps and no injuries
sueb: no injuries
falkor: oh you did well there, what about the Thai boxing did you get any injuries from that?
sueb: a few
falkor: a few, so do you still keep that up?
sueb: I do
falkor: so if you got into a situation on the street, do you think this Thai Boxing training would come in handy?
sueb: it would if I came to a situation, but it would be used in self defence
falkor: you can do that pretty well can you?
sueb: oh aye
falkor: that must give you quite a good feeling of confidence Sue
sueb: it does particularly when you see photographs of ppl on the briefing and recognise them on the street - you can see they are looking you over, especially when you're smaller and skinny than they are, they are thinking "what could you do to me?"
falkor: how tall are you then?
falkor: hmmmm well for a lady 5'7 is not bad, 5'7 is pretty good
sueb: not compared to some of the ppl that I walk round with [laughing]
falkor: so you've never needed that skill so far, you have been a PCSO for a year haven't you?
sueb: nigh on a year yes
falkor: so, so far, you have never had to use your boxing skills
sueb: no not so far - I've had to press my 'panic button' once or twice though
falkor: what are your thoughts on PCSOs' confrontation
sueb: well we are told to 'turn our backs and go,' but where we are, even if you do that, you still get hit, I mean I have had golf balls and water bombs, bricks eggs you name it
falkor: have you? [stunned]
sueb: oh aye
falkor: where's that then?
sueb: Sunderland North areas
falkor: you've had BRICKS thrown at you?
sueb: yep, just walking through Castletown in the local areas, police very rarely go there and we were just walking through and it was quite a rough area and all of a sudden bricks just came flying over a roof and then we heard the word "black bastards" being shouted at us
falkor: they shouted 'black bastards' at you? I don't understand that - you're not black
sueb: well we know that, but you're wearing a uniform aren't you?
falkor: so you got some back up to you, did you?
sueb: aye but by the time police arrived, they've gone
falkor: yikes you have seen some confrontation just inside 1 year
sueb: I've had more than that
falkor: but it hasn't put you off then?
sueb: no we get ourselves known to the crowd and eventually they're saying "you're the only police that can come in our area, no other police can come in our area, you're it - you're ours"
falkor: that's what they say?
sueb: and that's what I like, working in partnership - I'd rather have them onside than offside, so you stand there and talk to them - like now they're saying 'if anybody gives us trouble just tell them and they'll sort them out' we couldn't, but to hear them say that shows what we've achieved
falkor: in regard to music, I read from one of your posts that you like Johnny Cash
sueb: The Levellers too
falkor: I don't really know the Levellers or Johnny Cash, are they old time ppl or new musicians?
sueb: The Levellers have been around for 20 years
falkor: how did you get into them?
sueb: An ex colleague of mine at the Wildfowl Trust - my first job
falkor: what did the job entail?
sueb: looking after the ducks, birds and the grounds
falkor: so did you go from that to security?
sueb: no I went from that to 'nursery nursing' then security
falkor: which was your favourite?
sueb: nursery nursing
falkor: what was that, kids under 5?
sueb: new born to 5 yes
falkor: that must have been tough I should think
sueb: not really - the parents were more of a problem than the kids, "I want my kid treated properly" as if you wouldn't, stuff like that
falkor: I bet - wait a minute you had traning in Thai Boxing, you could have sorted 'em out
sueb: [laughing] sure
sueb: anyway you've left the job now haven't you ?
falkor: no I have actually got another 5 days to go before I hand my warrant card in and I'm feeling quite strange about it, strange isn't the word
sueb: I'll go in for promotion if I get the chance
falkor: good for you Sue, you fancy that do you?
sueb: I wouldn't mind
falkor: it's quite a lot of work nowadays, you've got to go through so many hoops and jump so many chasms
sueb: we've got 2 PCs supervising us and one of them is going for sergeant - she's passed her part I and her part II first time - failed her interview though
falkor: that's a shame, sometimes you have to go through this stuff over and over again, I knew a sergeant where I worked, went in for inspector 7 years running - he finally got it though, he was well pleased
sueb: determination, I went for my driving test 7 times
falkor: really? you passed on the 7th go? when was that?
sueb: five years ago now
falkor: so you were 19 when you were driving, that's not bad is it?
sueb: no not really
falkor: I read in one of your posts that you have done Aikido as well as Thai Boxing and that it was taught to you as a religion, is that right?
sueb: most martial arts are a religion, Thai Boxing is a religion too
falkor: I can't understand how a fighting thing can be anything to do with religion, how does that follow?
sueb: they've got their own gods for different wars in religion type thing
sueb: Thai Boxers will pray to Thai Gods at the start of the fight, in the ring they will draw a bow and arrow - the bow and arrow will represent a hunting god, this is to put fear into the opponent.
falkor: have you had any close calls during a fight?
sueb: well I've a had a few footmarks on my chest but I've never had a bruise on my face which is pretty good
falkor: how long do the matches actually last then? what are we talking about 10 minutes?
sueb: you can have a 6 or 8 minute fight depending on how quick and how strong your opponent is - how fast he knocks you out
falkor: how long have you been doing that for?
sueb: since I was 19
falkor: since you were 19, the same time as you started driving
sueb: yeah about the same time
falkor: did you ever see the WWF on the telly?
sueb: yeah I do
falkor: what do you think of that?
sueb: not as good - I watch the boxing and it's the martial arts that I like
falkor: so what have you got planned for the rest of the day then, are you doing anything today?
sueb: I'm actually at work at 4 o'clock
falkor: so if you start at 4 - you end at midnight
sueb: aye 4 to midnight
falkor: so is that one of your main shifts then?
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.
sueb: main shifts? it's our only shift
falkor: you work 4 - midnight all the time, how did that come about?
sueb: it's the time that we're getting disorder so that's when we work
falkor: are you saying that all the PCSOs in Sunderland all work 4 - midnight the whole time?
falkor: [stunned again] I must have missed this somewhere along the line, is there a topic on this somewhere? [totally stunned]
sueb: I think me and nottac have mentioned it once or twice yes
falkor: are you quite happy with that?
sueb: I don't get much of a social life, but then I don't have much of a social life anyway [laughing]
falkor: so have you had any contact with unison about this permanent 4 - midnight shift, what do they say about it?
sueb: it is under review at the minute, but it is in the contract so we all knew
falkor: but there must be quite a few PCSOs who have turned around to you and said "look this is just unreasonable!"
sueb: there's quite a few on my shift that don't like it - the only time they changed it was at Christmas, they changed the shifts to day shift so that we could help out with shop thefts
falkor: but apart from Christmas they don't change you from 4 to midnight?
sueb: no, not unless it's a training day
falkor: are the PCSOs allowed to go on events like fetes, football?
sueb: oh they can, I have attended meetings like a neighbourhood watch meeting and at the minute, I'm organising a junior crime prevention team
falkor: you've started that?
sueb: I'm working through it with the crime prevention officer
falkor: do you normally work on your own, or have you got a partner?
sueb: yes a male one at the minute, chopping and changing
falkor: sounds about right
falkor: I should imagine depending on who your partner is, can effect how you work
sueb: my partner's quite a big lad, Dave and he is good with the kids just like me, we are quite happy to natter to the kids it's great
falkor: sounds like you're really enjoying it
sueb: I am - that's the main reason why I'm putting off joining the police force - I'm enjoying what I'm doing at the minute
falkor: there's a lot to be said for that and I am pleased to tell you that your 20 minutes is up
sueb: is it?
falkor: went quick didn't it?
sueb: aye it did
falkor: so I'll talk to you again sometime then Sue, thanks for phoning
sueb: ok bye bye then CONCLUDED 10.20am 8 March 06 sueb back in her Bridges Security days
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all in the day of a PCSO ...