Friday, September 21, 2007

PCSOs "not trained" to help drowning child

Police chiefs have defended two community support officers (PCSOs) who stood by as a 10-year-old boy drowned in a pond. Jordon Lyon leapt into the water in Wigan, Greater Manchester, after his eight-year-old stepsister Bethany got into difficulties on 3 May.

Two anglers jumped in and saved Bethany but Jordon became submerged. The inquest into his death heard the PCSOs did not rescue him as they were not trained to deal with the incident.

No comment.

UPDATE - via the Dumb One, Bishop Hill has a relevant quote - I think from Ayn Rand.

"You have destroyed all that which you held to be evil and achieved all that which you held to be good. Why, then, do you shrink in honor from the sight of the world around you? That world is not the product of your sins, it is the product and the image of your virtues. It is your moral ideal brought into reality in its full and final perfection."

UPDATE2 - Telegraph Poor young Jordan Lyon, who drowned saving his step-sister, seems to have been a lot braver than the organs of the state.

They receive four weeks training before starting their role. This training includes "race and diversity" and "health, safety and welfare", according to the Metropolitan Police website.

UPDATE3 - The Health and Safety Executive certainly has a few smears of blood on its hands.

In 1999 Paul Metcalfe, a Bury firefighter, died after trying to retrieve a drowning teenager from a pond. Untrained in water rescues and ill-equipped, he went into the water with a line but succumbed to hypothermia. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) later decided to prosecute the Manchester fire authority.

But while Manchester fire and rescue services are now better equipped at water rescuing than some other brigades, the general reaction across the country appears to have been to tell firefighters to take no chances, and that attitude has spread to the police.

In July this year, the Metropolitan police were fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £50,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching health and safety laws after two 14-year-old boys, Gameli Akuklu and William Kadama, died at a children’s event in 2002 in the swimming pool at the force’s training college in Hendon, north London.

Brian Paddick, who retired from the Met in May as a deputy assistant commissioner, said: “At that time all recruits were trained to swim and, when they could, they were trained in lifesaving.

As a result of this incident, the then commissioner, John Stevens, ordered the pool to be filled in. Since then, officers have not been trained in swimming or lifesaving.”

Paddick, now running as the Liberal Democrat candidate for London mayor, said the approach of the police nationally to health and safety had also been shaken by the death of Kulwant Sidhu, an officer who fell to his death while chasing a suspect across a roof.

The HSE brought a prosecution which, although it failed, cost £3m and saw Stevens and his predecessor, Lord Condon, brought before the Old Bailey.

“They were prosecuted because they had not instructed officers not to risk their lives operating at height,” said Paddick. “That now extends to forces telling police community support officers not to get involved in emergencies or in violent situations. They are told to withdraw and call the police.”

Paddick said that officers in the Met were supposed to call for back-up from the fire brigade or a lifeboat if they encountered someone drowning, but he said most had the “self-confidence” to ignore the rules if a life was in danger.”

He added: “Community support officers do not have that self-confidence, and standing on the shore watching is just one example of that.”


youdontknowme said...

How could they just stand by and let this happen? You don't need to be trained to save someone's life. It should be instinct.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

As with so much reporting today I'm left with more questions than I began with:

Where were the parents?

Why did they let their 8-year-old daughter visit the pond without supervision?

Who called the PCSOs?

Why didn't they (the callers) make an attempt to save the children?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous" has the right sort of questions.
Reports of the incident have been very inaccurate it seems. When the two officers arrived on the scene the boy had already gone from sight.

Anonymous said...

Here is the fullest account I can find:

Note the inquest seems to have been on the 16th and the actions of the proper police officer and stepdad while the CPSOs, according the fisherman "just stood there."

Anonymous said...

I suppose the argument is that a PCSO, as an arm of the State, has an obligation greater than that of the average passer-by, for otherwise this would not be newsworthy and this post would not exist.

In which case I'm sure Ayn Rand would be amused that her writings are cited to demonstrate that the pastoral care of one's children is a proper function of the State.

Anonymous said...

Werent trained - what, they couldnt swim?

Fatso said...

You might be interested to learn that PCSOs are also not allowed to give out parking tickets in Northamptonshire by order of the Chief Cosnatble, Mr. Maddison, who also wants to cut 400 (!!) PCs from the force to save money!

That said, WTF are PCSOs for for goodness sake!