Media Attacks on Police Community Support Officer (PCSO)

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2007 Police Staff Service Group Conference
10 October 2007

This Conference notes with extreme concern:

·On 7 October the Sunday Express published the names and photographs of the two Greater Manchester Police PCSOs who were on duty at the time of the tragic drowning of a young boy.

·Despite the statement issued by Great Manchester Police supporting the PCSOs conduct, and the Coroner’s verdict, the media chose to vilify these two PCSOs who arrived on the scene after he had disappeared under the water

·The actions of the Sunday Express have exposed our members to abuse and threats from the general public

·This media intrusion is totally irresponsible and dangerous

·This story is now being used by critics of PCSOs within the Service and by politicians to make capital out of one family’s personal tragedy

·Certain sections of the media are trying to discredit our Police Community Support officer members

·Since the summer two national newspapers in particular have launched a campaign to vilify and ridicule PCSOs

·This media reporting has been inaccurate, misleading and provocative

·PCSOs continue to be wrongly labelled as plastic police or policing on the cheap

·Critics of PCSOs within the Service have more latterly tried to claim that PCSOs are now a failed experiment

Conference believes that:

·The recent media attacks are part of an active campaign by critics within the service to remove PCSOs from the police service

·The hounding and harassment of PCSOs and their families is totally unacceptable and a breach of the Press Code of Practice

·The newspapers are behaving irresponsibly by continuing to inflame an already tense situation

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive to:

1Send a message of support and solidarity to the Greater Manchester Police PCSOs subject to this gross press intrusion

2Continue to make representations to the Press Complaints Commission about this intrusion

3Make representations to those critics of PCSOs in the Service to desist from their attacks

4Open a dialogue with other representative organisations in the service about the need for mutual support when we are representing our respective members who find themselves in distress as a result of tragedy at work

5Continue to campaign for PCSOs to be properly funded, properly equipped and properly empowered to carry out the vital role they perform in communities across England and Wales