Qualified cycling instructor describes an incident when he caught two PCSO's riding on the pavement in Nottingham UK.
I'm a Ministry Of Transport recognised cycling instructor, trained by them and the CTC. I've been that for about 7 or 8 years now. I'm also a cycle journalist, despite all the bikes, I'm also a driver and like a lot of drivers, I occasionally park on the pavement, which means in fact that I have driven on the pavement. You see that all over town, you see hundreds, thousands of cars, parked on the pavements.
On this particular day I was strolling down Mansfield Rd in Sherwood Nottingham, a couple of these 'pseudo-cops' were cycling up Mansfield Road, only on the pavement. I only knew who they were when they had passed as the label 'Police Community Support Officer' was on their backs.
So they were cycling along chatting to each other. Fair do's, it's a wide pavement, but there had been this whole thing arresting cyclists down near the station. So I started to say to these guys, 'you are not allowed to do that'. Anyway they just ignored me. I got hold of the guy who was nearest to me, by his forearm (I didn't drag him off, or anything like that) just grabbed him sufficiently to swing his wheel towards the left and therefore unbalance him. At which point the other pseudo-cop came peddling round I said, 'Do you know you are not allowed to cycle on here? This is a pavement'. At which point there was the reaction along the lines of 'who the hell do you think you are telling us what our job is?' (although they didn’t say this). I just jumped in and said hang on, I'm a qualified cycling instructor etc, etc.. I think essentially they rode away with their tail between their legs, but at least they tried to ride on the road. They tried cycling away up Mansfield Road double-breasted, possibly one of the busiest roads in Nottingham, so they didn't even know how to ride on the road.
The irony of all this is that immediately after training to be a cycling instructor I actually ran a organisation that gave free cycling lessons paid for by the city council. We went down to the police and offered to give cycling instruction up to Level Three to these jokers, but they'd refused. The reaction was 'anybody can ride a bike'.
I don't have a problem with community policing. I have quite a lot of problems with these amateurs. When the police started to appear on the streets you could feel a tangible relaxation of people in the community ( I'd lived there for over thirty years) - you could feel the difference. When we got the pseudo-cops it was neither one thing nor the other. My problem with them is mainly that they are under-trained, under-skilled and under-resourced. It's a kind of tolkenistic thing which might work, but doesn't seem to have so far.