14 August 2007

Daddy, Daddy....

.....I want to be a policeman when I grow up.

Generally the person who makes that statement waits until they are old enough to carry out the duties of a policeman & the police service that employs them waits until they are of an acceptable age to employ. Except TVP it would seem, who have recruited two sixteen, yes sixteen, year old PCSO's.
As you all know, I'm not in the job but from the outside looking in I see a lot of problems with this. As far as I'm aware PCSO duties include;

  1. providing a visible and reassuring presence within communities
  2. attending incidents of disorder, nuisance and anti-social behaviour
  3. dealing with community issues such as littering and dog fouling
  4. checking out abandoned vehicles
  5. gathering evidence through observation
  6. helping with missing persons enquiries
  7. speaking to young people who might be drunk and causing problems, confiscating alcohol and tobacco, if necessary
  8. crowd control and directing traffic at public events
  9. helping direct traffic at road blocks or scenes of accidents
  10. assisting police with recording names & addresses or door-to-door enquiries

I have & can see many problems with them carrying out the duties mentioned above.

  1. Just how reassuring is it going to be for people to see two sixteen year olds patrolling their neighbourhood? It wouldn't reassure me because even if they didn't look their age, who's to say they have the ability to cope with problems they come across? The difference in the two years between sixteen & eighteen (The age you can apply for recruitment to regular police) is vast. Both in attitude & appearance. By eighteen you have at least had some experience with the public & how you are perceived having already had some sort of job. You've had chance to experience the wider world out of school & to find your feet, I know myself the difference in me between the age of sixteen & eighteen was huge.
  2. How on earth are they going to be able to sort out anti-social behaviour & disorder? Even with backup who is going to take notice of them? Especially the gobby youths who don't have respect for the regular police let alone PCSO's who are younger than they are. Whats going to happen when they ask for alcohol to be disposed of or confiscated when they aren't legal drinking age themselves? What is the fifteen year old youth/drunken man/woman going to do then? Especially when he/she knows full well they don't have powers of arrest & can only detain them for a maximum of 30 minutes. I'm sure that will have the local ASBO holders quaking in their boots.
  3. Relating to the above, how can they confiscate alcohol from a young person or adults when they aren't of legal drinking age themselves? When they can't legally buy or drink themselves & they are asking Joe Public to hand over his bottle of white lightening or can of Stella. I really can't see him handing it over without some sort of fight or verbal 'communication'...
  4. What about guarding of crime scenes? Are they really going to be able to handle standing on the cordon of a murder scene? Or rape? Are they really going to have the mental strength to deal with that? & more to the point, the attitude to deal with the public & be able to hold their composure in difficult situations. What are their parents going to have to say about it?
  5. They are going to be out on patrol with only a radio for assistance. No cuffs, no baton, no vest etc. As they can't legally drive they will only be out on foot patrol & may not be with a regular officer but another PCSO so not necessarily have the back up & full powers of a regular officer in a partner. As stated in the PCSO job description as defined by ACPO on the website "They are often sent out to patrol areas experiencing particular problems, such as estates where there have been a spate of car thefts or burglaries, or communities where there have been complaints about nuisance youths on the streets." So straight away they are going to be faced by people that don't want them around & put into hostile & risky environments. Unless they are given a special patrol through the towns toyshops & sweet shops........ Sorry but I can't help it, it is a thoroughly ridiculous situation.
  6. How is this job going to affect them? & their lives? It's not just a question of being able to handle the public but the question of their age & how the things they will have to have a part in will affect them.

At sixteen as far as I am concerned they are just too young to be in that role, I know it isn't all about how old you are but at the age they are they haven't even had chance to find out what their reactions & perceptions are to things, let alone be able to handle other peoples. How many of you reading this look back at yourself at sixteen & can see how much different you were at that age to how different you are/were a few years later at 18/19/20. It's only a maximum of four years but look at how much you achieved or had experienced & how your attitudes & beliefs changed & moulded you into the person you are now in that short time. How you matured & how your views towards other people & situations changed because of that maturity. The only people who are going to be in awe of them & listening to what they have to say are going to be the nursery class at the local primary school when they are there talking about stranger danger!

Whoever passed their application should have referred them to the police cadets instead or gave them appropriate advice to come back & re-apply at eighteen. In my eyes it is asking for trouble, the perception of the police isn't that good with ordinary law abiding members of the public let alone the lowlifes who constantly need the attention of them. And they all know that PCSO's aren't the real deal even if Joe Public can't always tell the difference so what qualms are they going to have at giving two sixteen year olds who have not got full police powers as much hassle as they can? Age in number may not matter but life experience, attitude & maturity does & can make one hell of a difference in things. Even if they do look older than their age physically, mentally they are still sixteen years old & still only have the experience most sixteen year olds have unless they are an exception to the norm. As far as I can see their age is not going to be a help in some circumstances, it may well go for them in some but for the majority I can only see it as a hindrance. It isn't their physical appearance so much (If it was I would be straight out the door!) but the attitude & life experience you don't have at sixteen because you haven't had the opportunity to gain it.

I fully expect some backlash on this (Too quick to judge/PCSO hater) but as I said at the start, I'm not in the job so have no real in-depth idea about how they will get on nor can I really judge being as they haven't been out on duty yet but reading the original reports & statements, & reading what the police have to do & the kind of people they have to deal with I stick by my original comments & opinion. I can see trouble on the horizon, namely a rise in assaults against police for TVP if those concerned aren't careful.....

And in less important news, I've gone back to the original template. The other one was a bit dull I thought :)


dickiebo said...

I think we are in danger of missing the supreme strategy of this. Fight fire with fire. They're gonna be issued with hoodies!

cheekyfaces said...

Hi, you put this so much better than I did but I'm gobsmacked all the same and echo everything you have said....Its ridiculous. Nice to read your blog by the way, I got here via TUPC's blog :o)

Annette said...

Great blog, says it all.

Thanks for your comment on my blog...will practice.

As for the layout, all I do is use the big bar, on the computer.The one with an arrow pointing to the left.

Press it 2 or 3 times to make the gaps between the paragraphs.

I hope that explains it!?!

PC South West said...

I am not a fan of the PCSO in any case!! this is quite simply a joke and someone needs to have their bloody head read.
There is no way a 16 year old could cope with this kind of work and they would be totally ineffective, no matter how mature they are for their age.

The Police service is going from strength to strength, what ever next?

Ing said...

PCSO's do a vaulable job, but I agree that at 16 they simply do not have the life experience or the gravitas for operational patrol.

Charlie Lima said...

We were laughing about this at the nick, just imagine the kevin and perry sketches from the Harry Enfiled show. Now imagine those two in PCSO uniforms and say this in the style of perry 'Can you move along please Mrs Paterson, Thank you'

Roses said...

I agree with you. Although, there are some quite mature and together 16 year olds, I still would want a bit more life-experience for someone taking on the PCSO responsibility.

Miss X said...

That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard. What made them do that? Of course they won't be able to do the job.

Area Trace No Search said...

I agree 100% - I think TVP have been put up to this so other forces can see if they can get away with it.

BTW, linked to you - very sorry for not doing it sooner. I'm from the West Country, it takes me a while to master technology...

PC Bloggs said...

"PCSOs do a valuable job". What exactly? Since most of our PCSOs can't get hoodied youths to move anywhere anyway, and seem to have a weaker grasp of their own powers than the public do, I can't see how TVP's 16yr-olds could be any worse than our older ones.

Perhaps I'm cynical in my old, old age.

hobbybobby said...
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hobbybobby said...

This is an accident waiting to happen.

I have no idea what the TVP powers-that-be think they're playing at, but this is one story that's bound to end in disaster.

I know they get a regular bashing from a lot of police officers, but I have a strange admiration for PCSO's - although they're getting paid to work (unlike me), they're unarmed, and although the job is supposedly "non-confrontational", we all know that it's impossible to do the job without confrontation. You wouldn't catch me doing it, that's for sure, and I'm twice the age of these prospective recruits!

Noddy said...

QED. Top post lassie!

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PC South West said...

Looks like you are atracting the attention of the underclass again GND.
Anyway I fancy you are a bit quiet lately, all ok?

Anonymous said...
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PC South West said...

Hey anon you are showing everyone how you bunked off school.
Are you having trouble with your spelling? Maybe I am being a little harsh, I know it's hard to concentrate when you are using opiates.

Metcountymounty said...

it must be that combination of brick dust and talcum powder thats upsetting their use of a keyboard.

Good post GND, which ever force you decide to go for DO NOT accept being a pcso for a short while, the Met have managed to trap quite a few good people by that one and they would make extremely effective police officers, some are a complete and utter waste of space, but you get that everywhere!!

ps, always been a HUGE fan of deborah messing so keep the hair as it is I would say!!

Girl*Next*Door said...

Thanks for the comments everyone :o)
Agree completely in one way or another with all of them, it is a thoroughly ridiculous situation.

PCSW, still about just been busy busy with various things but yes, all ok. Really sweet of you to ask, thanks :o)
As for anon, I've seen & heard alot worse so it's no bother. The delete button is easy enough to use after all. Just a shame about the lack of spelling ability on their part, can't even insult somebody properly.

MCM I would rather be a special for a while than a PCSO. It is definitely not the route I want to take!
& the hair is staying, I'm too attached (quite literally! Lol) to it being long :o)