PCSOs – learn what you enforce!

Don’t you hate when people do not do their job properly? I do.  Especially if those people are in the position of power. Or they think they are… anyway… I want to give you a bit of info about my close encounters with a special kind… PCSOs.

PCSO is an abbreviation of Police Community Support Officer… Although they work for the police they are NOT the police and do not have the same powers.  Some of the powers they do have in London:

  • Power to direct traffic and pedestrians
  • Power to confiscate alcohol
  • Power to confiscate tobacco from persons under 16
  • Power to enter premises to save life and prevent damage to property
  • Power to remove abandoned vehicles
  • Power to issue fixed penalty notices (for example, cycling on the pavement, dog fouling, littering, graffiti etc.)
  • Power to demand a name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner
  • Power to seize vehicles used to cause alarm
  • Power to search property in matters relating to terrorism (with a constable)
  • Power to search property in matters relating to terrorism (with a constable)
  • Power to seize drugs

Couple more facts:

  1. PCSOs only have powers when they are in uniform.
  2. PCSOs must carry a ?designation card? that describes their powers
  3. PCSOs do not have a power of arrest but they can require a suspect to remain with then until a police officers arrives.
  4. The ‘power to remain’ can be exercised only in limited circumstances

So now you know a bit more what they are… PCSOs are often used for low priority jobs like delivering information etc.

Recently London decided to enforce the ASL rule… ASL is an Advanced Stop Line – it is commonly referred to as “cycle box”.

On a high level the rule says – only bicycles are allowed into the cycle box… but obviously that is a huge simplification. The rule actually says you must stop before the first line (not to enter the ASL) when the light changes to yellow. However there is obviously more to it. The stopping is not always possible or safe in that case driver could continue through the intersection or stop safely before the second line (inside the ASL).

While the nuance of this could be easily forgotten by a common person (a lot of cyclists get very puffed up about their sacred box), the person who is designated to inform and warn the public should know it. I find it completely unacceptable and unprofessional for a PCSO who for a whole shift is giving out leaflets describing this rule not to know it.

I was harassed by ignorant PCSOs twice. First time I took the leaflet out of curiosity what it says.  At the same time I got really annoyed that he did not know anything. Most of the video is actually me ranting about his ignorance and lack of proper training.

Second time I was determined not to take anything and thanked the PCSO for his leaflet. He tried to bully me… I gave him a crash course of the rule and hopefully he will actually READ THE BLOODY LEAFLET! 😉