Saturday, September 22, 2007

Police Community Support Officers.

Much as been said about the value of Police Community Support Officers after an inquest heard two PCSOs had stood at the water's edge while 10-year-old Jordon Lyon drowned in a pond after he tried to save his stepsister.

As The Daily Telegraph reported, the officers arrived at the scene of the emergency in Wigan, Greater Manchester, but did not attempt to rescue the boy and instead called for assistance from regular police officers. Greater Manchester Police defended the PCSOs' decision not to jump in the water because they were not trained in such incidents.

Jordon's mother, Tracy Lyon, wants the PCSOs involved to be sacked. They have not been named and did not give evidence at the inquest into her son's death. Jordon jumped into the water to save his eight-year-old stepsister at a local beauty spot in May this year. Mrs Lyon said: "If you're walking down the street and you see a child drowning, you automatically go in that water."

DCI Phil Owen, of Wigan CID, insisted after the inquest: "PCSOs are not trained to deal with major incidents such as this … It would have been inappropriate for PCSOs, who are not trained in water rescue, to enter the pond."

...So here is my view. One of the first rules of First Aid is for the rescuer not to put himself in any further danger. Jumping into any water is foolish and many a time a rescuer has drowned whilst trying to save somebody. The PCSO's were not trained in water rescue and it would have been wrong for them to undertake a risky act. The people in charge are the one's at the end of the 999 telephone line. If the emergency call centre sends out budget Police Officers then that is what you get, you get what you pay for.

Tracy Lyon hopes that anyone who sees a child drowning would automatically enter the water but in reality only fools jump into unknown water. Sometimes the foolish jump in and save the child. That rescuer is then hailed as a hero, even if the rescue was foolish. If the rescuer drowns then society calls their actions stupid and avoidable. If Jordan Lyon had reacted with wisdom rather than emotion then he would still be alive today, although he would have lost his sister. His sister now has to live with the guilt forever that she caused the death of her brother.

These Police Community Support Officers should not be sacked, they have done the job they were paid for. Their names need not be made public unless they want to make statements themselves. They have a right to a private life the same as everyone else.

These children should not have been in the pond, their parents should have brought them up to understand the dangers of water. Making scapegoats of budget policing is not the answer to childhood misadventure.
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