national-PCSOs






  Site Origins


NOTE: this page is all about the SITE ORIGINS but if you really wanted PCSO origins then just click here

PHASE ONE

thanks for coming to the SITE ORIGINS page. The story of how national-PCSOs came to be made, who joined it and why has been long held back in a shadowy - rumour filled vacuum. Now for the first time, the amazing story can at long last be told.

The story actually starts in 2002, coincidentally - the year that PCSOs started walking the beat for the first time.

the very first members to join national-pcsos way back in 2004
top 20 username template location date joined posts in phpBB2 member no
11 pen subSilver Hertfordshire 28 Feb 2004 9 25
12 Jonpcso Chronicles Leeds west Yorkshire 28 Feb 2004 39 26
13 Mazaya Elektro London 03 Mar 2004 7 34
14 dee subSilver Darlington 04 Mar 2004 173 37
15 robocop Elektro kingston-upon-thames 08 Mar 2004 6 43
16 Eviction Technician subSilver Kernow & Kent 09 Mar 2004 332 45
17 davops Elektro   10 Mar 2004 4 46
18 Raven Chronicles The darkness just before dawn 11 Mar 2004 296 47
19 wozbit Elektro Kingston-Upon-Thames 11 Mar 2004 6 49
20 Bobopcso Elektro Woolwich 12 Mar 2004 3 52

I had been shopping in Kingston and gone into a branch of "GAME" looking for any cracking computer games going. What I found instead was far far more important than any computer game.

I found a copy of blitzbasic - a cutting edge programming language that "GAME" had decided to stock. Having passed 'A' level Computer Science at Merton Tech a few years before, I was intrigued to see a hands on programming language up for grabs.

I took the package home and buried myself in the manual that accompanied it.

Pretty soon I was looking at the official "support site" for the language and not long after ended up on the unofficial site called "Blitzcoder.Com" (now erased)

The amazing camaraderie, rapport and commitment I saw on these forums (it was the first forums I had ever seen in my life) got me hooked from Day One. I quickly achieved a reputation for being a decent, enthusiastic if not knowledgeable, colleague on the site.

My keen interest in forums had begun in style

PHASE TWO

Some months later I found the unoffical POLICE forums called 'off duty'

Now the forums I'm talking about are not the ones you see today

Sadly the head honchoes at that site felt it was necessary to delete the 2002 'off duty' forums in favour of something better

and when I say delete, I mean GONE

But in 2002 there I was on 'off duty' forums - crikey, I thought Blitzcoder was good but these 'off duty' forums really were beautiful

I was knocked for six, these forums had EVERYTHING (for 2002) and pretty soon I was up to my neck in some pretty controversial topics (now all deleted as the site moved onto "better forums")

select for Victor by Victor 07 Jul 2009 07:28 am

Hi Every body,
Five years already! Time gone quick isn't it, thanks for PCSO web-site to bring us together.

We are the PCSOs can change our communities and make them better and safer.

select for Lieutenant fatman by Lieutenant fatman 14 Jul 2009 05:41 pm

I remember there being a specific part of the forum dedicated to a Big Brother type game. A few of our main members who were keen on the idea got together and all pretended to be in some crazy mansion on some tropical island, or something similar.

We would have challenges (making things out of match sticks springs to mind), and then of course the evictions. It was all good fun, and although I think the television show is total rubbish (my opinion), the game was very amusing! Ah, memories.

PHASE THREE

I had enjoyed a real love affair with Windsor Safari Park while my kids were really young

Living not too far from there, I had even bundled the kids down there after school, I was that mad about the place

Sadly, it got closed down in 1992 to make way for LEGOLAND!!

Ever since then I had been searching on the internet to check out any website with a "Windsor Safari Park" theme

Nope! Nobody gave a monkeys

2003 came around and I decided to launch a site in memory of the place I loved so much (thinking that anybody who ever went there would join my site)

these are the major components in the journey to P.C.S.O. com getting published to internet
Blitzcoder.com hey!! first website I ever joined.1.
offduty forums best Police site I ever saw!!.2.
www.windsorsafaripark.org.uk first site I made (on 31 Aug 2003) .3.
Police Specials Andy Oldham was a great help to me.4.
natn pcsos Created on 20 Feb 2004 .5.
p h p B B 3 national-pcsos was created in phpBB2 but in 2007 - phpBB3 superceded the old forums. In 2008 PCSO.com went to phpBB3 .6.

PHASE FOUR

at the time I was getting pretty heavily involved with Police Specials too and the guy in charge Andy Oldham - at that time - was using phpBB2 for that site (I believe he since changed to another software totally different)

But to get phpBB2 forums enstalled - first time around - was incredibly difficult for me

It's like anything, once you've done something a few times - you say "Hey! How easy is that!!?" Sure it is, for someone who knows how

I remember Andy coming over to my installation and checking it out (it just wouldn't work)

Of course, he managed to sort it and told me what I had/ hadn't done - but I was always very grateful to him for being such a friend

the very first members to join national-pcsos way back in 2004
top 10 username template location date joined posts in phpBB2 member no
1 falkor subSilver Surrey 20 Feb 2004 5508 2
2 Lieutenant fatman subSilver England 24 Feb 2004 389 8
3 Rowan Chronicles Walton On Thames 24 Feb 2004 5 11
4 Rachel subSilver Herts 26 Feb 2004 10 12
5 dilly day dream Elektro a world of my own... 26 Feb 2004 2346 13
6 magical46 subSilver   26 Feb 2004 3 15
7 Dan subSilver Yorks 26 Feb 2004 18 17
8 Maquis196 subSilver London 27 Feb 2004 18 20
9 deb subSilver herts 27 Feb 2004 6 21
10 kipper subSilver Home Counties 28 Feb 2004 2482 23

PHASE FIVE

By the time 2004 hit, I had already launched another couple of forums, "SurreyCounty" and "NationalCableTV - neither of which were that successful and ultimately were scrapped. However it looked like PCSOs were missing out, as everyone else had forums, Police, Fire Brigade, Ambos even Specials - so what about PCSOs? I had a look around for quite a while, thinking "well somebody must have set up forums for PCSOs!"

In the end I came to the conclusion that no one had bothered! So I started "national-pcsos" and very quickly, PCSOs began joining and participating and creating a useful, quality place to come to, that any other PCSOs would be welcome to join our discussions. Very soon "national-pcsos" put "Windsor Safari Park", "SurreyCounty" and "NationalCableTV" to shame, through sheer numbers of topics and members.

"SurreyCounty" and "NationalCableTV" went on for a year or two - then just peacefully dropped off a cliff.

PHASE SIX

I was a big fan of phpBB2 and as I said before, originally Police Specials and many other forums were operating with it. When phpBB3 came in, in 2007, I was not impressed. I was not in fact going to move to phpBB3. I couldn't understand what phpBB3 really offered. As time went on - negative information began surfacing about the viability of continued operation with phpBB2 and even the hosts fired a broadside in my direction, when I asked for support. "There is another version of phpBB available," they told me - as if I was completely lagging behind the times. Still I refused to budge.

Another site "National Traffic" had launched in 2006, after a Highways Agency Traffic Officer on "national-pcsos" had been talking about the "HATO" role. After a while, I proposed a "HATO" site and together we kicked off "national traffic," a kind of "national-PCSOs" for HATOs.

In 2008 however, a number of senior members on "national traffic" began "complaining" about the way the forums looked. Their grievances snowballed to such an extent, that I felt something concrete needed to be done. Something that would so satisfy their irritations, that the subject would be stopped in it's tracked.

It occurred to me there and then, that the time for phpBB3 had arrived. A daunting process to convert phpBB2 to phpBB3 then occurred over several mindbending days - the resulting forums however, operate faster, more securely and more efficiently than ever! And once it was done to "national traffic," it could pretty easily be done to "national-pcsos" and so in 2008 - our site was upgraded to phpBB3, the most cutting edge forums on the market today!

ANECDOTES, LEGENDARY MEMBERS, QUERIES, COMMENTS, REMARKS are sought for this page, do email me please if you can contribute anything to this page

the very first members to join national-pcsos way back in 2004
top 40 username template location date joined posts in phpBB2 member no
31 IndianaJones Elektro   19 Mar 2004 46 90
32 pieman71 Elektro London Westminster 19 Mar 2004 8 93
33 dlambeth Elektro South London 22 Mar 2004 14 99
34 Shpadoinkleday Elektro London 25 Mar 2004 5 105
35 Shimmy subSilver Over There * Points* 25 Mar 2004 495 106
36 Orett subSilver London 25 Mar 2004 9 107
37 husky subSilver   28 Mar 2004 4 112
38 superfan1 zoneCopper   29 Mar 2004 56 114
39 Victor subSilver Concrete jungle 03 Apr 2004 180 119
40 Anna Key Elektro London 11 Apr 2004 15 124

see examples of 'Fasthosts Site' What was the original site like?
Three Transitions

There were three transitions of the site

The 2004 "Fasthosts" version is seen here (click on the image to see more saves of the original pages)

Fasthosts (as most good hosting companies now do) offered a facility called "Site Builder" which enables any person who has no knowledge of HTML or CSS to set up a web site in a matter of a couple of hours and the pages look reasonable

Many pages were easily created in the "Site Builder" scheme - screensaves of these pages are held on our PBASE gallery to show you how the site, which was called "National-PCSOs" back then - looked.

these pages continued and "piled up" for 4 years under "Fasthosts" until certain "performance" and "technical support" issues started us looking for another host.

At that time we had a very good PCSO moderator on our books who went by the handle of "Kipper" and he pointed us towards Blackfoot.

2nd transition see examples of 'Blackfoot Site'

In 2008 'national-pcsos' became 'PCSO.com' under the soothing care of Blackfoot. We soon found the "performance" and "technical support" issues ABLY COVERED by Blackfoot and realised that "Kipper"'s recommendation was sound. But Blackfoot had "Site Studio" not "Site Builder" and the task of "transferring" our pages was not simply a "copy and paste" moment

Several areas of content were just lost as we went from "Site Builder" to "Site Studio" here is an example page from the "Site Studio" set up and click on the opposite image to see more examples if you wish

All the "Site Studio" templates offered (and there were many to choose from) looked professional enough and could be maintained easily too but did not particularly lend much of an identity for a PCSO site.

This could be justified on one hand by saying "Well, we are an unofficial site, we don't need much of an identity for a PCSO site when in fact all we really are is a forums site for off duty discussions."

It was felt that pages holding "excerpts" from PCSO orientated press articles would be a good idea and it has turned out quite well. It is most interesting to see some of the older "Archives" that we can now fall back on - to easily see what was happening back in the "PCSO world" going all the way back to 2007

in 2012 Blackfoot announced that "Site Studio" was coming to an end. The company running "Site Studio" for Blackfoot had given notice that they would no longer "support it" meaning that for any "technical failures" in the Site Studio system there would be serious problems

"Site Studio 2" was announced with a whole raft of completely different "Templates" to choose from but again there was no simple "copy and paste" moment that would achieve transfer of our content from one system to the next. We were again in the 2008 situation when moving from "Site Builder" to "Site Studio" this is the style of our site now

3rd transition

2013 and the content is still under Blackfoot but we have given up on any SiteBuilder or SiteStudio systems.

We have just gone over to plain white paper instead.

Ok it doesn't look as professional but remember in fact all we really are is a forums site for off duty discussions.

We have static pages which are no longer held in "Site Studio" type templates, they would be but our version of "Site Studio" came to an end. The next raft of "Site Studio2" templates had no more 'PCSO identity' to lend us than the previous versions so, plain white paper is probably as good as going in that direction

If you have comments on any of these 3 transitions please drop us a line in SITE COMMENTS

It's a difficult thing to try and keep all of the members of the site happy all of the time but maybe your comments could spark a "theme" from other members or Administrators.

Comments on how the site is doing or how it is looking are pretty rare so why not send us your thoughts? Do a review in fact or join our site as a member, you would be more than welcome.

Our site has come a long way since 2004 and we have seen a tremendous amount of PCSOs come and go from our site in that time, many have imparted their good experience and practice and it is only through their participation that the site still continues.

the very first members to join national-pcsos way back in 2004
top 30 username template location date joined posts in phpBB2 member no
21 Jolly BlueLagoon London - Lambeth 12 Mar 2004 34 53
22 ianh6 BlueLagoon   13 Mar 2004 79 54
23 Gforceuk subSilver   13 Mar 2004 2917 56
24 Martin subSilver Scotland 13 Mar 2004 4 57
25 Michael BlueLagoon GUILDFORD, SURREY 14 Mar 2004 46 59
26 blackbear Elektro Lancashire 14 Mar 2004 3 65
27 stephen BlueLagoon scotland 14 Mar 2004 394 67
28 nottac subSilver North East 15 Mar 2004 351 71
29 CA5 Elektro   17 Mar 2004 325 84
30 sandy Elektro hillingdon 18 Mar 2004 35 88
The early mods       
CA5 was a Police instructor who I knew from another website, I forget now whether I knew him from offduty or Police Specials but either way, he was certainly an asset on the site!
Shimmy was a young MET PCSO, Jonpcso was an active and well fit PCSO from Leeds, dilly day dream I think was my first moderator on the site and she was a great Herts PCSO - very enthusiastic on national-PCSOs of course, now kipper was still a mod on national-pcsos in 2007 having spent time doing a great PCSO job and then making PC he went on to create his own website "Probationer.Com" I believe it was, of course I joined it, kipper put a lot of effort in there as he did with all his projects.
Lieutenant Fatman, a MET PCSO now for several years - he doesn't say a lot 'tis true, but he does have as much PCSO experience as any others on the site, for sure!
falkor        3.7.09