PCSO crime solving leaves man fuming

PUBLISHED: 17:34 16 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:15 06 May 2010

POLICE Community Support Officers have been accused of refusing to take action after a bag was snatched from a car only 50 yards away from them. The claim has come from a customer in the George pub in Redbourn High Street outside which the theft occurred

POLICE Community Support Officers have been accused of refusing to take action after a bag was snatched from a car only 50 yards away from them.

The claim has come from a customer in the George pub in Redbourn High Street outside which the theft occurred in mid-April while a 56-year-old woman was waiting in her car.

The customer maintains that when he challenged the two PCSOs to do something, they told him it was not their beat - and then threatened to arrest him when he swore at them.

The bag was stolen from the passenger seat of the victim's car shortly before 8.30pm on Friday, April 11. The thief opened the door, took the bag which contained a camera containing irreplaceable photos of the victim's late mother, and then drove off in the direction of the fire station in a small red car.

The customer said that the victim ran into the pub after the theft in a very distressed state and he and others rushed outside to see if they could help.

He saw a PCSO car parked 50 yards away on the opposite side of the road and ran to it. The two PCSOs were just about to pull away as he crossed the road, he alleged, and he told them a woman had been robbed.

Irate

The customer went on: "They said they could not do anything about it because it was not their beat. I was terribly irate and started to have a go and swore at them and they said if I did not stop, they would arrest me so I said they couldn't because it was not their beat."

He admitted that they then agreed to phone the incident through to the police and spoke to the victim.

He added: "I think it is a total disgrace particularly as they kept saying my behaviour was unreasonable."

Newly re-elected district councillor for Redbourn and former police detective chief superintendent in Herts, Cllr Tony Swendell, said he was surprised that instant action was not taken over an incident like the theft which occurred in the High Street.

He also pointed out that CCTV along the High Street should have captured images of the thief's vehicle as it drove off.

Herts Police this week completely refuted claims that the two PCSOs had not responded to the incident, "robustly, appropriately or effectively".

A spokesperson said: "This is not a fair or accurate report of the incident which took place. Within minutes of the crime being reported, the two PCSOs were on the scene, speaking to the victim, taking the details and recording the crime which is the appropriate police response to this type of offence."

He added: "Their ability to assist the victim and investigate the incident fully was severely impeded by several people who were rude and aggressive towards them. This unhelpful behaviour meant their attention was directed away from dealing with the crime and the victim and instead levelled at calming a disruptive situation."

The spokesperson said the victim had been kept informed throughout and had told police she was pleased with the service she received.

He added: "It is important to note that no official complaint has been made about the handling of this incident."

Police have reissued their earlier witness appeal over the theft of the green leather bag which contained a silver Kodak 361 digital camera containing pictures of sentimental value.

The spokesperson added: "Anyone with information about the theft is asked to contact Pc Christine Clayton from the Harpenden Neighbourhood Team on 0845 33 00 222. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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