Monday, October 01, 2007

This and that

Tying up a couple of loose ends....

Pursuits. Thanks to commenteers as always. As far as I'm concerned this would be a useless blog if people weren't prepared to comment. I do have an opinion on most things but I know that mine isn't necessarily the same as yours and I'm not always necessarily right! (Just ask the wife....)

My own opinion on pursuits? I certainly wish we could have TPAC reintroduced- "nudge features", boxing in etc to attempt to bring a pursuit under our control, and not entirely in the hands of the loon in the bandit car. The reasons why it was withdrawn I'm not sure about but it would have probably had something to do with when it wrong once (i.e. over keen police driver- I'm sad to admit it does happen, look at the video on the sidebar), plus of course the big pound signs- more driver training, damaged police cars, and the fact lawsuits from injured people who were pursued are actually paid out. I don't get that. Their argument is they wouldn't be injured if they weren't being chased. I'm sorry, but as above just who is in control of whether they stop or not?

I'm not saying everyone who gets chased should be TPAC'd. But it should be an option available when the crime is serious enough, and not a blanket ban. I'm trying to find out who writes our pursuit policy so I can discuss this at high level but no-one has replied to my enquiries yet....

I'm aware that police advanced driving is just the foundation for even more advanced stuff- anti-hijack, close protection, use of vehicles as weapons etc but the majority of the techniques on there shouldn't apply to a "regular" pursuit. Indeed, I reckon it'd get you into a pile of smelly stuff if you did, knowing the job. Wouldn't stop me trying to blag a place on one of those courses though!

Secondly, PCSO's. I asked around about their training. Turns out the two in Manchester did exactly what their training (should it be the same as ours) stipulates- they are civilian members of staff, so do not get involved, and call for regular police. If they went in, got into trouble, chances are their union would not cover them for insurance etc because they ignored their training and got into a risky situation. Much as the emotion of the situation says otherwise, I can't blame them for not going in. They did what they were told they had to do, knowing that if they did go in and get into trouble, their own loved ones would suffer as they might not get a life insurance payout. The police officer, being a warranted officer and has a duty to protect the public, is covered should the worst happen.

I found out there are two general types of PCSO's.

1) Very good ones. Keen to get involved, put themselves on the line, including in risky situations, and generally do their best with what they've got.
2) Others who do the bare minimum, and seem to take advantage of the lack of inefficiency procedures, and are happy to walk around not doing a lot.

Very broad generalisations, I know, bear with me. The thing is, the ones in group one very quickly become frustrated with their lack of powers, the lack of any career prospects and scarce opportunity for skills training. So they apply to join the job as soon as their 12 months are up.

Please note I know there are exceptions, that there are very good ones who are happy to remain as PCSO's and are well motivated. But I consistently heard from across the board that the above is the case- that the good ones join the job, and it is a struggle to motivate the others.

Trainers at HQ are quite convinced that the government will continue increasing the powers of PCSOs, and quite soon there will be a two-tier police system in this country.

Thats enough about that for now. Next time, a story from the real world of policing! Unless the Daily Mail comes up with something else that winds me up a treat.