Friday 6 May 2016

I Think I Can See Where The Recruitment Went Wrong…

The ‘Guardian’ interviews a PCSO. By sheer good fortune, they’ve managed to find one whose worldview matches their own. One who presumably reads the ‘Guardian’ (or at least, looks at the pictures). How fortuitous is that?
You’ve heard the expression “it’s like herding cats”? Well, it isn’t. Working for the police is like shepherding a million or so unpredictable human beings through a world where anything can and will happen.
Errrr….that’s what the expression ‘herding cats’ is meant to represent. It’s a simile. It’s not meant literally…
My main duties are supposed to be focused on low-level crime, antisocial behaviour, community engagement and public reassurance. I have to remind myself of this on a daily basis, because what usually dominates my time is dealing with a load of old claptrap.
Welcome to the world of work! Few of us get to do what we think we are employed to do. Why should it be different for you?
As a PCSO you probably assume I get regular abuse. This isn’t true. Yes, I am a walking target in a yellow coat and a silly hat, but in my community the last thing the local youths want to do is to draw attention to themselves. Occasionally some youngling of around 13 – who hasn’t yet graduated into crime from low-level antisocial behaviour – will shout “plastic” from about half a mile away, encouraged by the anonymity of being part of a larger group of sniggering mates. I’ve never been bothered by this. Besides, I have a lot of empathy with kids growing up in this community. Getting to know them over the years has convinced me to see them as victims too – of a system that consistently lets them down.
Ah, ‘the system’. Not ‘parents’? Not ‘peers’?

And aren’t the real victims the people who have to put up with the behaviour of these anti-social little scumbags? The elderly lady whose garden is trashed, the mechanic who has to get graffiti and gang signs removed from his premises, for example?
What really bothers me are people wasting my time, which more often than not involves disputes between neighbours. People phone the police just to get the upper hand in an argument, and it becomes a ludicrous battle over who can get the most complaints logged against the other. I desperately want to tell each party to grow up and stop messing about, but my hands are tied.
Finally, you’ve said something we all can agree with! But this attitude that the police are the arbiters of all kinds of petty disputes amongst the underclass arose out of the same government that brought you in. It created your job, in effect.

And I bet you voted enthusiastically for it.
I’ve seen kids move through the various stages of criminality and have little chance to stop them. It’s heartbreaking. When the eight-year-old boy causing problems in school starts smoking cannabis and stealing cars, it is hard not to trace the blame back to one source: a lack of government funding across the board.
Not ‘parental responsibility’ then? Not personal responsibility, to rise above the circumstances of your birth, like so many others manage to do?

No, clearly, everything is the government’s fault. If only it threw enough money at a problem, it’d be solved, wouldn’t it?
The other day I sat with an elderly victim of a bogus caller. A man had entered her house pretending to be from the water company and had stolen her jewellery. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the investigation had been closed because of a lack of evidence, and that detectives were swamped with other things. So I just sat with her and held her hand, and tried not to think about the fact that someone, somewhere was out celebrating their banker’s bonus – ironically with a whole lot of alcohol and drugs. Probably.
And that has what to do with ….well, anything? The banker didn’t steal her jewellery, did they? It was most likely the father of one of the little scallywags you express sympathy for.


Anonymous said...

I viewed the implementation of CSOs and their terms of reference with trepidation. They had the word "Police" added to try and give hem some form of authority - but that failed. They can't stop and search - they have to call a Police officer; they can't breath test suspected drunken drivers - they have to call a Police officer; neither can they cause a vehicle to stop, require the production of driving documents, make an arrest (though they can 'detain' someone for a period of time, though what the difference is, no one has been able to explain), or carry out other tasks which a Police officer can. Instead, they were designed to be the eyes and ears of the Police force, sorry, service, and to provide reassurance. The main reason they were brought in was because they were cheaper to employ than Police officers yet provided a uniformed presence on the streets (as long as it is not dark, raining, or cold) in an attempt to fool the public that their caring, sharing, government was looking after their interests. What the idiots in government did n't realise is that in being locally employed rather than Crown appointments, they could join unions, go on strike or work to rule and demand privileges, perks and equipment not available to Police officers. That there have been keen and responsible CSOs, some of whom used that route to join the Police, is not in doubt, and I mean no disrespect to them. Unfortunately, the majority I met were the politically motivated using their position to pursue personal goals, the unfit or obese who couldn't find other work, fancied themselves as Robocop without having to do all that nasty training, or those morbidly interested in other people's affairs. No one in authority seemed to realise it would be cheaper and more efficient in the long run to recruit more Police officers. This is what we have as a result of politically motivated social experiments. I despair. I really do.

Antisthenes said...

Society appears to have reached a stage that comes just before a catastrophe. The decline in moral values and standards cannot continue in the way it is. History tells us that when greed, corruption and incompetence reaches a level similar to the one we are now experiencing something bad will happen.

To use the collapse of the Roman Empire as an example as what happens as the circumstances of the reason for that collapse and what happened to finally bring it about are remarkable similar to today. The moral decline and decadence then is little different to that which we see today and the final act that destroyed it was the hordes of barbarians that crossed into it's territories. History does have a habit of repeating itself and we are very bad from learning from our mistakes.

Unknown said...

Official descriptions of the role of PCSOs can be found on the internet, here for instance . Nowhere can I find mention of "herding" or "shepherding" as being part of the job. Perhaps PCSOs would find the job easier if they did not regard the public as domestic animals to be treated accordingly?

stengle said...

Journalist has friend who isn't a journalist. Friend likes to moan a lot. Journalist listens to moans and thinks it would make a great story. Journalist's boss, the editor, has no better ideas, so story is run. Friend likes journalist little bit more now because friend is famous. Sort of.

stengle said...

To further what Anonymous said earlier, I recall a pair of bike-riding CSOs who one summer's evening found themselves surrounded by a gang of sneering, laughing teenage kids. They solved the problem by calling the real police to break up the crowd. Then they cycled off, happy.

I couldn't help feeling if the pair hadn't been in my part of the world, there would have been no 'hostile' crowd and no need to call the real cops.

Ted Treen said...

"...detectives were swamped with other things..."

It does take such a long time to scour Facebook/Twitter/Interwebs in general for those commiting the heinous crime of suggesting that little Chardonnay is a slapper, or Duwayne's lifestyle could be related to his dermatological pigment, or maybe Mo's demands for special treatment & exemption from our laws because of his 'religion' are unacceptable.

This, and protecting taxi-drivers of a certain background leaves very little time for much else - other than investigating if a DJ or pop singer actually put his hand on some groupie's bum in 1968. Con-men cheating or robbing OAPs comes way down the list.

JuliaM said...

"This is what we have as a result of politically motivated social experiments. I despair. I really do."

We all do. :/

" Perhaps PCSOs would find the job easier if they did not regard the public as domestic animals to be treated accordingly?"

Particularly when so many have the build, and the intelligence, of farmyard stock themselves.

"Friend likes journalist little bit more now because friend is famous. Sort of."

I wonder how many 'Guardian' journos rub shoulders with people who actually perform work? Even of this sort.