In 2007, two PCSOs controversially stood by as a ten-year-old boy drowned in a pond.

Schoolboy Jordan Lyon, from Wigan, had jumped into the pond to save his step-sister, but got into difficulties himself and disappeared from view.

The PCSOs, who were first on the scene following a 999 call, were ordered to wait for a regular officer to arrive.

In September 2010, PCSOs in Pilgrim's Hatch, Essex, were told they were not allowed to help children cross the road. A local school had to pay for "proper" officers instead.

In the same month, an 84-year-old war veteran was chased by four police officers and a van after two PCSOs insisted they saw him cycling on the pavement.

One of them called for "back up" from two PCs, who drove after James Gresty through Sale, Greater Manchester. He branded their behaviour "ridiculous".

In December 2010, it was revealed PCSOs cost up to £300,000 for every crime they detected.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, showed Nottinghamshire Police spent almost £7m on wages for 265 PCSOs who detected just six crimes in a year.

In April 2011, they were criticised in the press when three PCSOs from Hertfordshire Police were photographed idly supervising a teenager on a fishing trip while checking their mobile phones.

In January 2012, a PSCO was revealed to have hit a 15-year-old boy in the face in a Grimsby community centre.

It was said to have been part of a joke around a face mask, but victim Liam Watters said: "You're meant to look up to them and take them as a role model, but now I can't".

Earlier this month, two PCSOs banned an eight-year-old boy from playing football outside his own home because he "kicked too loudly".

Bertie Longworth, from Kearsley, near Bolton, Greater Manchester, was questioned by the officers who took his full name and date of birth before telling his mother he could no longer play with the call.

In October 2011, two PCSOs from Surrey became embroiled in a jealous row over who was the most popular officer on their beat.

One, Kim Boichat, was said to have fabricated a false hate campaign, purporting to be against her by her colleague, but was found to have written the poisonous notes to herself instead.

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