Good morning everyone, a nice bright and cheerful start to the week!
I see that one of our "respected" and "far sighted" neolithic union movements (Unison - the public sector union) is getting its knickers in a twist over Nanny's plastic policemen....sorry I mean "Police Community Support Officers" (PCSOs).
These are Nanny's answer to crime and the shortage of properly trained policemen on the beat, and are used by local councils to enforce all manner of help "initiatives" and petty rules.
Seemingly Unison believes that the PCSO's would do their jobs much better, if they wore the same uniforms as police officers. Unison has the view that people simply don't respect PCSO's as much as they should...well, what can I say?
Three things on this point of "respect", it's not so much "disrespect" but a lack of trust that is the issue here:
1 PCSO's are not the police, they are paid volunteers who are given some basic training and a uniform (similar to the police) to wear.
2 They are used by local councils for the enforcement of the council's rules on littering, anti social behaviour and whatever else the council has a bee in its bonnet over.
3 They are Nanny's response to the shortage of real policemen on the beat, and as such are a fudge.
The reality is that the British people do not like to see non professionals wandering around in a uniform, telling them what to do.
Anyhoo, such matters do not concern Unison; they have very helpfully suggested designs for a new uniform for PCSO's.
The police are none too happy about this idea, as the Police Federation rightly points out the idea is "dangerous and ill conceived"; as it would confuse people into thinking the PCSO's have the same powers as police officers, they don't...which is another very good reason why people don't quite trust them.
By the way, there are now 15,000 PCSOs patrolling the streets of England and Wales. That's a lot of "volunteers" in uniform!
The chairman of the Police Federation, Jan Berry, thinks that the idea is bollocks, noting that it would serve:
"no greater purpose than fooling
the public into thinking there are
more officers on the beat than in reality there are".
That is exactly why Nanny created the PCSO's in the first place!
As Ms Berry said, hitting the nail firmly on the head:
"They're not police officers,
so they should be distinct and
they should be different
otherwise there are expectations placed
on the PCSOs that maybe they don't have the powers,
the equipment or the experience to deal with.
And, likewise, there's confusion for the public,
who are expecting the PCSOs to do something."
The last line is the best point, all we have with PCSO's is nothing more than some more of Nanny's spin in physical form. Once you look very hard at what they actually do, you realise that they can't do very much.
Yet we pay for them!