Friday, 20 February 2009
I got called to assist one of our PCSO colleagues the other day.
It was very funny, albeit unintentionally.
Three PCSOs had been on patrol (in an unmarked car) in the town centre, and had been flagged down by an observant elderly gent, who had asked them for some assistance.
He had noticed a couple of young men in a public toilet being slightly more friendly towards each other than was socially acceptable.
The PCSOs promised to help out, then went to the toilet. Funnily, someone else had already called this in on the 999 system, and the CCTV cameras had been pointed at the facilities.
I was in the IBO (Integrated Borough Operations Room) at the time, trying to get a broken radio replaced, and so had a good view of the goings on.
After taking the elderly gent's details, the PCSOs got back in the car, and drove the ten yards to the toilets.
Two got out - obviously the driver wasn't planning on spoiling his day.
The two PCSOs then held a heated conflab outside the entrance to the toilets - I'm guessing they were working out whether they really wanted to get involved in this.
They then both walked back to the car.
Our IBO Supervisor is a canny Sergeant, and he had also been watching. He leant over and spoke into the microphone:
"Bravo X-ray from IBOS, can I have talk through please?"
"PCSOs outside Brixley Town Centre Toilets, can I have your shoulder numbers? I take it you're dealing with the nuisance call to them?"
A pause - both PCSOs stopped with the car doors open, then started to walk back to the toilets, defeated.
"Yeah, uh - show 7999 and 7123 dealing"
I started to feel a little pity in the depths of my soul, and said to the Sergeant "I'll go and help them out Sarge, my operator is putting on a crime report but I'm free."
I wondered down to my police car in the yard and started to trundle towards the location, a three minute drive. As I drove, the radio burst into life with a panicked voice: "Bravo X-ray - I need a unit here to assist!"
I started to drive a little harder and reached for the blues, I was very close at this point. "PCSO transmitting from Bravo X-ray, shoulder number, location, what've you got there?"
The breathless response: "Bravo X-ray, there's a man in the toilets and he's masticating!"
Um. I didn't know that was an offence...
Anyway, after recovering from the hilarity I arrived to find the PCSOs waiting safely outside the toilet, having opened a cubicle and spotted a young man entertaining himself before making a sharp exit. He was suitably dealt with, and the PCSOs drove away at speed, thankful to be out of there.
Incidentally, the male wasn't masticating anymore when I went in there.