2009 - 2010 news

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Suspect saved from drowning by PCSO
May 13 2010 by Kathryn Williams, South Wales Echo
select for full story A POLICE suspect has been saved from drowning by the community support officer who had been trying to arrest him.

PCSO Chris Missen, 23, has been praised for his actions after he was hurled into the River Ely by the man he was chasing through Ely’s Plymouth Woods.

But the suspect, who was wanted for questioning by South Wales Police, ended up having to be saved by the officer, who just happens to be a member of the RNLI’s flood rescue team.

Chris said: “He could see that I was catching up with him and even though I told him there was nowhere to go, I wasn’t expecting what happened next.

“He grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and threw me into the river. My reflex was to grab him and he came in with me.”

Police community support officers are increasingly being taken off street patrols to be used as desk staff and traffic police, the chief police officers’ leader has said.

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent
13 Apr 2010

Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, criticised the way that PCSOs were moving away from their “core role” and said it “devalued” Labour’s flagship policing policy.

select for full story He told The Daily Telegraph: “PCSOs came in to reassure the public by being highly visible 90 per cent of the time. But there are cases in some forces where they are used as front office staff, within custody suites or for traffic. The moment you start allowing mission creep and moving people out of those roles you actually devalue the brand.”

Sir Hugh said that, despite Government assurances about spending on frontline policing, the number of officers will decline in the next few years because many forces have stopped recruiting constables. He suggested that pressure on resources would see PCSOs taking on further backroom roles.

“When they are not on the street they are not doing what we asked to have them for," he warned. “The point is they are stepping away from their core role,” he said.

The first full audit of how police and PCSOs use their time earlier this month showed that officers spent only 36 per cent of the day aiding the public by “working in the community”.

The Tories have said they will give chief constables the option of scrapping PCSOs and using the money to pay for more sworn officers.

Sir Hugh also warned that the creeping growth of police cautions and fines - used to deliver "instant justice" on the streets - must not allow serious criminals to avoid court.

He said that out-of-court penalties had developed in a “very ad hoc way” and caused public concern.

Last week it emerged that eleven rapists and hundreds of other self-confessed sex offenders had been let off with cautions over the past five years in one police force alone.

"The public will find it very hard to understand why a rapist is cautioned,” Sir Hugh said.

"It cannot be right that people who commit serious offences do not appear in front of the courts. “That is what victims both expect and deserve.”

Cautions are supposed to deal with minor offences, but the number of them given to violent criminals has risen by 82 per cent in just five years, and four in 10 serious criminals are now being let off with a caution.

Enquiries desk at civic centre
Apr 29 2010 By David Baker, Harrow Observer
select for full story HARROW police have unveiled their latest base as part of a programme to give residents a greater opportunity to report crime.

The information centre, which has been set up in the Civic Centre, in Station Road, Harrow, replaces the manned desks at Wealdstone police station and will open from 9am to 5pm every day.

The desk, opened last week, will be staffed by police community support officers (PCSOs) who have been trained to deal with all aspects of police-related enquiries from the public.

The new facility follows the opening of Harrow Central police station, in Peterborough Road, last week, which replaced the base in South Harrow.

Tuesday 27th April 2010
By Alex Hayes

A FEMALE PCSO was punched in the face yesterday while trying to break up a fight between a man in his 60s and a teenager on an Edgware petrol station forecourt.

The pair started brawling at the Esso Petrol station in Spur Road at about 8.45am, after the 18-year-old blocked the entrance with his car, but refused to move when beeped by the 62-year-old.

The older man then drove into the teenager causing him to fall onto the bonnet, before getting out and confronting the younger man, who tried to walk away.

As he did so the older man swung a punch and the teenager reacted. Two PCSOs passing by spotted the scuffle on the floor and went to break them up.

As they did so the older man lashed out catching the female officer on the cheek. The officers called for assistance and the 62-year-old was arrested on suspicion of affray and assaulting the PCSO.

However, he told officers he thought the PCSOs were the younger man's friends trying to help him and lashed out in defence.

select to see full article Suspected thief ran three miles across fields and streams trying to escape PCSO... who loves cross-country running
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:38 AM on 15th December 2009
A suspected thief ran out of luck after trying for three miles to flee from an officer - who was a keen cross-country runner.

PCSO Alex Brader, 27, chased the man for half an hour across railway tracks, over fields, a stream and through woodlands as he desperately tried to escape.

But determined Alex kept him in sight and gave a constant stream of commentary on his police radio to coordinate his colleagues ahead and arrest him.

The officer was first alerted to a suspicious vehicle in an isolated spot in Peakirk, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, at around 1pm on December 3.

When he went to investigate he saw a 'large amount of copper piping' on the back seat of the vehicle and a man hiding in bushes behind a nearby fence.

The man then fled as PCSO Brader gave chase, jumping the 4ft fence and pursuing the suspect across fields and along a railway line.

select to see full article

The 30-minute chase continued into thick woods and over a stream before the suspect was apprehended by other officers who had come around the other way.

PCSO Brader, who is based at Werrington Station in Peterborough, described the three-mile cross-country run as 'quite comical really'.

He said: 'It was ridiculous as the suspect was wearing a really bright red top and was hiding in a bush that didn't have any leaves.

'I thought he might be dumping some evidence but when I told him to come out he just took off.

'I realised there was a four-foot fence in the hedgerow between us so I jumped it - it wasn't a difficult hurdle - and set off after him.

'I used to be pretty good at running so I didn't think twice about chasing after him, but I had no idea I would be running for half an hour.

'He crossed the road and took off across all the fields until he reached the railway line, and then he went haring off down it.

'I was worried running over the railway line but I couldn't let him escape.

'Then we came to a wooded area which was a nightmare as it was really uneven ground and I had to cross a stream.'

The divorced father-of-two, who became a PCSO in 2003, said he was a keen runner all the way through school and 'always entered cross country running' for sports day.

He said: 'I was pretty fast and used to do quite well. By the end I could do a mile and a half in nine minutes. But then I tore some ligaments in my knee.

'I still try to keep fit, though I haven't done any serious running for a little while because two years ago I had serious abdominal surgery.

'But I've started going to the gym at work now and hopefully I can start building things up again.'

Sergeant Alan Bradshaw of Cambridgeshire police praised PCSO Brader's determination in pursuing the alleged thief.

He said: 'The way PCSO Brader remained focused and showed such endurance while keeping other officers informed to make the arrest was brilliant.'

Police worker’s Peel Tower sketch to go under hammer
8:40am Saturday 19th December 2009
select to see full article A POLICE officer is hoping her artistic view of Bury’s most famous landmark will help raise money for stoke victims.

Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Natalie Johnson, from the Ramsbottom Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), has marked the 180th anniversary of the police force by drawing a picture of the Peel Tower on Holcombe Hill.

People are being asked to buy a ticket in a raffle for their chance to win the artwork.

All proceeds will be donated to Speakeasy — a charity which supports local people who have suffered a stroke.

PCSO Johnson said: “We held a “meet the police” event on Holcombe Hill to mark the anniversary and my inspector challenged me to draw a picture of the tower.

“After I had finished — and knowing how dearly local people regard the monument — I got the idea to auction it off for Speakeasy as I had recently given a talk on my role as PCSO to a group of people recovering from strokes and thought it would be a different way of raising money for the charity.”

PCSO Johnson is a keen artist and has a National Diploma in Art And Design.

The black and white picture of Peel Tower was drawn with fineliner pen to capture the detail of the stonework on the monument.

The drawing is on display in White’s outdoor clothing shop on Silver Street, Ramsbottom, until December 20, when the prize draw will take place.

Thursday 3rd December 2009
Comments (4) » By Rob Merrick
POLICE chiefs have been urged to send out special constables instead of fully trained officers on Friday and Saturday nights to save cash.
Government proposals to make £545m annual savings by 2014 will target a rise in overtime payments that will swallow up six per cent of the pay bill in some forces.

They call for more specials and community support officers to be deployed at weekends in place of warranted officers, to “get the most from taxpayers’ money”.
Ministers insisted the switch was already under way in London, but the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, warned of “carnage” if overtime was drastically cut back.

Paul McKeever, its chairman, said: “We do not do overtime out of choice. We cannot just walk away from criminals or turn our backs on crimes being committed. Next, the Government will try to schedule where and when crime happens.”

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), also raised concerns, insisting overtime was already scrutinised carefully by forces.

He said: “The police service is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week organisation and has to be able to respond flexibly to any event or crime at any time.”

The region’s four police forces ran up a total overtime bill of £18.85m in 2007-8, official figures show. Cleveland paid out the most as a percentage of its total pay bill – five per cent.

Other cost-cutting measures include sending out officers to patrol alone, rather than in pairs, and forces combining to buy uniforms, cars, computer systems and other day-to-day equipment.

However, there will be no fresh attempt to merge forces, after plans to create a single North-East police force had to be abandoned, in 2006, after fierce opposition in Cleveland and Durham.

Ministers are still keen to see voluntary mergers, but only where it has the “full backing of all the forces and police authorities concerned” – which would rule it out in the North-East and Yorkshire.

The Home Office insisted the package was about “savings, not cuts”, pointing to the 2.7 per cent increase in police budgets announced last week.

And it insisted there was “nothing for warranted officers to worry about”, despite plans to give community support officers new powers to seize fireworks and graffiti spray cans.

But Policing Minister David Hanson said forces needed to get away from the “culture of overtime being normal”, to slash £70m off the annual overtime bill of £413m.

select to see full article MP Vera Baird poo-poos row
Dec 19 2009 The Journal
A GOVERNMENT minister yesterday admitted rowing with a train passenger who complained after the MP’s dog fouled a railway platform.

Solicitor General Vera Baird was embroiled in a confrontation at King’s Cross railway station in central London.

The Redcar MP said her new puppy was unwell and made a mess on a platform which she was unable to clear up.

Mrs Baird, a well-known dog lover whose pet won the annual Westminster Dog of the Year competition in 2004, said she asked cleaning staff for help.

But a mother with her young child confronted the senior politician over the mess and an angry row ensued.

British Transport Police (BTP) were called to the scene by worried bystanders and a Community Support Officer spoke to both women.

An investigation took place, in which CCTV was examined and witness statements taken, to see if any offences had been committed.

It is an offence if an owner does not clean up after their dog has fouled public land. The fine is usually a £50 fixed penalty notice.

Sources said police also considered a public order offence of causing “harassment, alarm or distress”. This criminal offence carries a maximum fine of £1,000. But after a six-week investigation, in which senior officers were consulted, it was decided to take no further action.

Speaking yesterday, Mrs Baird, 58, played down the row and denied she said “don’t you know who I am?” to the Support Officer (PCSO).

select to see full article Wednesday 16th December 2009
By Amie Mulderrig
An Abbots Langley Police Community Support Officer has received an award for his exceptional contribution to the community.
Wesley Gullin, 22, who lives in Watford, has been recognised for his Neighbourhood Watch efforts in the local area and been named PCSO of the year by members of the Three Rivers Neighbourhood Watch.

PCSO Gullin has walked the beat for almost three years, but previously worked in a call centre for the NHS as an assistant team leader.

He said: “Working in a call centre really wasn’t right for me. I’m not cut out for the 9 to 5 office job.

“I like to meet people and get out and about in the neighbourhood, so becoming a PCSO was definitely the right decision.”

Describing his commitment to the community, PCSO Gullin particularly enjoys his involvement with Neighbourhood Watch and was stunned to find out he was being recognised with an award.

The modest community officer said: “I was over the moon when I found out, I really couldn’t believe it - I didn’t expect to win an award.

“Being a PCSO is great, I get to go out in the local area, meet people, visit schools and talk to the kids. You couldn't ask for more.

“To be recognised with an award is fantastic, but I couldn’t do it without the support of Helen Lehrle, Gloria Stuart and Alison Warner, who help co-ordinate watches in each of their areas.

“My job is brilliant and it’s a wonderful feeling patrolling the area and serving the local community.”

PCSO Wesley Gullin is funded by both the parish council and Hertfordshire Constabulary.

select to see full article Wednesday 16th December 2009
ASBO yob jailed for police threat
Date: 12 December 2009
A teenage tearaway banned from Preston has been caged after threatening to bite the ear off a police officer.

Graffiti vandal Dean McLaughlin, 18, formerly of Wellfield Road in Preston breached his ASBO twice in and has been jailed for 140 days.

Blackpool Magistrates Court heard how McLaughlin tried to pull the hat off a woman community support officer before telling a male police officer he would bite his ear off and shouted: "I'm going to find out who you are, where you live and slit your kids' throats."

McLaughlin was banned from Preston for forming part of a gang along with younger brother Jake which took part in the worst-ever graffiti spate in the city's history leaving £100,000 of damage.

He was also banned from carrying paint sprays, paint and marker pens in public or inciting behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

But the court heard how he threatened the police officer on August 16 in Blackpool before being caught with a metal knuckleduster during a search for cannabis on October 15.

The defending lawyer John McLaren said McLaughlin's family moved to Blackpool following his ASBO and McLaughlin, now of Elizabeth Court, Layton, was joking with officers which involved playing a prank to remove the community support officer's hat.

McLaughlin's behaviour had been fuelled by drink and he later referred himself for alcohol treatment and counselling, the court heard

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