PCSO filmed refusing to attend 'assault' just '26 seconds away'
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Sussex Police has launched a review into footage which shows a PCSO refusing to attend an alleged assault taking place just a few hundred yards away from where they were stationed.
Footage of the exchange went viral after a member of the public pulled up alongside a stationary police car to tell the police community support officer (PCSO) inside, "You need to get around to the Co-op."
The person reporting the incident explained there had been a 'fight' because people were 'trying to stop shoplifters' at the store in Lancing, West Sussex.
"There's a member of the public who's just been assaulted," they said, referring to the scene just 200 or 300 yards away from the police car.
In response, the PCSO said they were 'not a response unit'.
When the person behind the camera pointed out that the sight of the police car would be enough to bring some control to the situation, the officer responded: "Yeah but then I'll have to deal with it."
The officer in the video was hit with widespread criticism after the video was shared online, with Twitter users describing the scene as 'unbelievable' and 'inexcusable'.
Good Morning Britain later said it took them just 26 seconds to travel from the officer's location in the video to the Co-op.
After Sussex Police Department was made aware of the video, it said a police officer did respond to the scene at the supermarket, after which the PCSO then also attended the scene.
The force has apologised for the 'clumsy language' used by the PCSO, and said it was reviewing its response to the incident.
It said: "We are aware of video footage of a single-crewed Police Community Support Officer being approached by a member of the public to report an incident in Lancing.
"The matter was reported to us and a police officer attended the incident as an emergency. The PCSO also then attended the scene."
Police community support officers are intended to support neighbourhood police teams, and though they can't arrest people they may use reasonable force against a person while waiting for a constable or transporting them to a police station.
In a statement to The Independent, West Sussex local policing Superintendent Nick Dias said: “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.”
Sussex Police is also investigating the report of assault and shoplifting. The victim in the case has been contacted by officers.
LADbible has contacted Sussex Police for further comment.