I'm coming out in support of the two PCSOs who didn't dive in to 'save' the kids who jumped into that lake in Wigan.
Recently, I've been told I'm not allowed to wear my uniform coming to and from University or placement. I thought this was for some stuffy old traditional reasoning and in part it is. I was also logically informed that it had something to do with cross infection, which is very sensible.
However, the main reason is accountability. I'm in training right now. We were warned, quite starkly, in fact, that if someone had a heart attack and a desperate relative asked me to help and the man or woman in question died that I could be sued.
I can't remember when this country became America, but it certainly has.
Accountability is now a watch word for all public servants. One of the reasons I got into nursing was to help people. But if some piece of slime is going to try and take me into a courtroom because I couldn't save a life, then I'm not going to do it.
Firstly - no shit, Sherlock - PCSOs aren't fully trained police officers. I know. It's shocking. But they're not. The Police Federation have always said PCSOs are a bad idea when replacing PCs, but the government doesn't really care. PCSOs are cheaper to train and pay than PCs and so it looks like the government is getting more uniforms on the street.
They're not trained. And in the same vein, they do not have the same rights or protection afforded to PCs, because... they're not PCs.
So whereas a PC has both the training to jump into an unknown body of water, as well as the legal protection if something goes wrong, a PCSO does not. The PCSOs in question followed procedure perfectly. The romantic notion of a maverick cop breaking the rules is fine and dandy in Hollywood, but Max Payne or Dirty Harry never had the red-tape-wielding, lily-livered bean counters otherwise known as the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) ready to run them out of a job or an entire living. Recent police media-portrayed 'blunders' have forced the force to do things by the book. The media, nor the public which supports it, shouldn't cry when they reap their own whirlwind.
Even in three years, once my training is fully realised, maybe my mind will change. An off-duty nurse saved the life of my dad, once, and I like to think if she hadn't been able to I wouldn't have taken her through a legal battle.
It's a pity everyone isn't like that.
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