Lay Police Observation

After a recent police report at a Parish Council meeting we heard about a scheme Devon and Cornwall police offer called Lay-observation. The scheme is where a member of the public can apply to shadow police officers to observe all the hard work that they do. (You too can apply by following this link.) 

After hearing about the scheme, I decided to apply and was thrilled to be able to go and spend an afternoon with the Police services within Truro. They were very kind and welcoming and more then happy to answer any and all questions that I asked them. It was a interesting afternoon, however there was a negative part which was where I witnessed how stretched these hard working police officers are. With just 5 officers to cover the huge area around Truro they are forced to work above and beyond what can be expected of anyone.

Just in my afternoon alone two officers had to stay on and work overtime due to not having enough staff to deal with everything happening that afternoon. (I was told this was a quiet day!) They have a mountain of paper work to do at the office but don't have the luxury of being undistributed. If a urgent 999 call comes in they need to drop everything and go deal with it, even a quick call can mean a backlog of paper work on top of anything new that arises. Not only that many cases can become more complex then first expected and end up taking hours. This makes their job so much harder and is outside of their control.

So how have they got into this awful situation? Simply put, it is due to funding cuts from the central government. In no uncertain terms these budget cuts forced on Cornwall by the central government have made it unsafe due to a real cut in police numbers. The blame for lack of police lies at the door of the central government.

On my lay-observation one person was to be taken to custody, however just before being arrested she swallowed some pills. This meant that before she could be taken to custody she had to be seen by a doctor. What should have been a quick trip to Camborne to take someone to custody soon ballooned into something much more complex and time consuming. We had to make a trip to Treliske, where again due to cuts from the central government to our NHS they were overwhelmed with patients with a lack of staff to deal with it. And just because the police bring someone in to hospital it does not mean they get priority treatment which means they have to stay with the offender till the all clear.

So its not just cuts to the police that are making it less safe but also the cuts to our public services. Two police officers were then tied up at Treliske which meant two less officers on the street, and what should have been routine had became a real danger to our safety due to government budget cuts in our public services. It has a domino affect, and here in Cornwall we deserve better than being made unsafe by "people up country." So when you next ring the police and are dismayed with the waiting times, remember it is not the fault of the police but the fault of political choices made by central government.     


  1. Where are all the PCSO's?? Surely the volunteer force could be called upon to stay at Treliske to "look after" an offender hence freeing up the real police to deal with real crimes. Perhaps its time for a campaign to sign up more PCSOs as it is clear we are not going to get more money from government to police our county properly. Its probably not allowed for PCSOs to stay with offenders on their own but one could free up one policeman at least.

    1. PCSO have also been cut, they are not volunteers either but an integral part of the police force. But I agree we need to have a campaign to reverse these cuts and get more police on the streets.


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