We all know the phrase "There are lies, damned lies & statistics" & how you can make stats say anything you want. We also know that when a particular organisation decides to fund some research the result will generally support the ethos of the organisation which is behind tthe funding.
It is, therefore, no surprise that the recent Police Federation poll on PCSOs came out heralding how rubbish they are & how much people don’t want them.
YouGov, on behalf of the Federation, asked 2117 adults whether they would feel safer if all the PCSOs were replaced by PCs. Apparently, 70% of respondents said they would. (well no shit, Sherlock!)
Julie Nesbitt, chairman of the Constables’ Central Committee, said "The Constables’ Central Committee warned the government when PCSOs were established that trying to police on the cheap was short-sighted & it seems our position has been vindicated."
Well I hope Ms Nesbitt uses a standard of proof somewhat higher in court than she does in her political posturing. What concerns me is that 1/3 of people wouldn’t feel any safer if all the many thousands of PCSOs were replaced by police officers! I don’t know if that’s a condemnation of the police or society but I don;’ think the Federation should be encouraged when you look at the stats that way.
I wonder what the result of the same poll would have been if the question had been "would you prefer a PCSO on the street or nothing?" which is probably a far more realistic question than the idea that the government would suddenly find the where-with-all to scrap PCSOs and fund all the extra police officers. Would we see similar headlines in the media saying the general public want PCSOs now?
I’m going to conduct a poll. The question will be "Would you prefer to run naked through the town centre or have a red hot poker stuffed up your arse?" I will follow this with big headlines in as many papers as I can afford (that’ll be the Catford Chronicle) announcing "New figures reveal 95% of people want to expose themselves in public." (I can’t think of a suitable headline for the remaining 5% but I know of some government clubs which might entertain them).
Personally, I think the Federation should spend my monthly subscriptions on supporting me against the bloody awful working practices I have to put up with currently – for which ,to date, they have done the sum total of twice times bugger all – than expensive posturing.