PCSO accused of ignoring Co-op robbery and attack on mum issues terse statement


A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) accused of refusing to investigate an alleged assault outside a Co-op has issued a terse statement.

It comes after video footage emerged on TikTok of a PCSO telling a member of the public alerting them to the ongoing incident in Lancing, West Sussex, that he "was not a response unit". The officer - who was just a minute's walk from the crime scene - said that if he investigated he would "have to deal with it".

West Sussex Police have apologised for the “clumsy language used by the PCSO” and say they are investigating. However, a mother-of-three - who was allegedly assaulted by a teenage shoplifter in the incident - has blasted the PSCO heard in the video.

She told a national newspaper: "I think it's this attitude which is enabling criminals to operate with impunity in this area." The PCSO heard in the video has reportedly been identified as PCSO Stewart Metcalfe, 58.

When confronted at his home, Metcalfe told the MailOnline: "I haven't seen the video yet. I'm on a rest day from work.

"I won't say anything. It's probably best not to right now."

The woman who was allegedly assaulted - a 41-year-old mum called Rohany - suffered swelling and bruising to her face, and minor cuts to her hand. She told the MailOnline that she witnessed "a number a number of teenagers stealing stuff" and "felt sorry for the security guard" who was "getting all sorts of physical and verbal abuse".

"I rang 999 from my mobile and told the girl as she came out of the store that I would film her so the police would know who she is," said Rohany. "She was drinking a can of Malibu and she threw it at me and then as she got nearer she started punching me in the head."

The video on TikTok, capture by dashcam footage, sees a concerned driver tell a PCSO sitting in a police patrol car: "You need to get around to the Co-op.

"Honestly, there's just been a fight around there because people are trying to stop the shoplifters that you're doing nothing about.

"There's a member of the public that's just been assaulted by a 15-year-old girl who's drunk, had a drink thrown in her face, got punched.

"People have called the police. We've come round here and you're sitting here."

In reply the police officer told him: "I'm not a response unit unfortunately."

The driver, aghast at the police officer's dismissive response, asked: "Are you afraid to deal with it then?"

The officer responded simply: "That's not the point."

Getting more irate, the motorist sharply said "that sort of is the point" before accusing the stationary officer of "cowardice".

West Sussex local policing Superintendent Nick Dias added: “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.

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