Sussex PCC 'really disappointed' at PCSO who 'refused' to attend shoplifting report

  • Katy Bourne speaks to presenter Sangeeta Bhabra

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex has expressed her disappointment in the Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who "refused" to attend to a report of shoplifting.

A video which surfaced online shows a member of the public alerting the PCSO, who was sat in a police car, to an incident at a shop just seconds away. But he seemingly refuses.

Katy Bourne Police and Crime Commissioner for Sussex said: "Well I think at a time when public confidence in the police is being tested when I had this video sent to me my initial response was really disappointed and I felt quite frustrated as the member of the public did as well.

"The irony of it is that PCSOs are employed for their engagement skills and I think the response there was lacking quite frankly and could have been a lot better.

"The PCSO could have said I'll radio through and ensure that response is aware and get an officer sent around immediately.

"He could have driven around there and I think just generally the response could have been much more positive rather than an 'it's not my job, I'm not response and I'd have to deal with it' which is what we saw."

Katy Bourne PCC referred the matter to the Chief Constable who has since referred it to professional standards. The PCSO's behaviour is under review.

She stated it is the start of anti-social behaviour week with the force working with Co-op stores to get them to report crimes more quickly.

She added: "Anti-social behaviour, shoplifting is not low level because the impact is high.

"The value may be low but the impact it has upon the store, upon the staff upon local people in the area mustn't be underestimated which is why we're doing a drive locally in Sussex to take shoplifting and those sorts of anti-social behaviour that happens within stores very seriously."

Sussex Police has said it's aware of the video footage.

A spokesperson said: "The matter was reported to us and a police officer attended the incident as an emergency. The PCSO also then attended the scene.

"The investigation into a report of assault and shoplifting is the subject of a live investigation, and the victim has been contacted by officers."

West Sussex local policing Superintendent Nick Dias added: “Keeping the public safe and feeling safe is paramount and our officers and PCSOs work hard to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, often in challenging circumstances.

"We work closely with local retailers and partners to help prevent and respond to anti-social behaviour and assaults on shop workers.

“We are sorry for the clumsy language used by the PCSO in this exchange and acknowledge the public’s concern.

"A police unit was dispatched to the scene as a matter of priority. Our response to this incident is being reviewed.”

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