A STRATFORD-upon-Avon grandmother who complained to police about a beggar was told that she could help the fight against crime in Stratford if she became a police community support officer (PCSO).
Wendy Geapin, aged 68, was left speechless when an officer from Stratford Police Station rang her home and told the pensioner that because the force was strapped for cash and only attended burglaries or violent crimes, she might want to consider training as a PCSO.
“I couldn’t believe my ears!” Wendy told the Herald. “I was amazed when the officer rang me and said this.
I told him I was elderly, but he replied, “you’re never too old to join the police force, we’d train you to deal with situations.”
I thought it was a joke and when I told my daughter she thought it was hilarious, but seriously, what if I was in a wheelchair? Would I have been told the same thing?”
The grandmother-of-four was contacted by police after she approached Stratford District Council to complain about a street beggar who she claims was “intimidating and aggressive” towards her and other pedestrians on the Tramway Bridge last week.
“The man was in his late 20s and he was shouting at people to give him money. I didn’t like it at all so I quickly walked past him and phoned the council because I didn’t think people were allowed to beg on the streets of Stratford. The council referred the matter to the police and this week I got a phone call from an officer who said I’d have to prove the man on the bridge was actually begging. It all got a bit confusing,” Wendy said.
The volunteer charity shop worker said she still has faith in the police but has no intention of taking them up on their offer of becoming a community officer.
According to Warwickshire Police’s website the criteria for PCSOs is as follows: “PCSOs are the eyes and ears of Warwickshire Police. They provide a reassuring presence to communities and they support police officers in dealing with various incidents, helping to reduce crime and the fear of crime.
The ideal candidate will have great interpersonal skills, the desire to protect people in Warwickshire from harm, and the ability to build vital links within communities.
The role is predominantly carried out on foot so a PCSO needs to have a high degree of stamina and physical fitness and be happy to work independently on their own for the majority of the time.”
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