Pictured: PCSO, 58, who did not help as mum-of-three ‘attacked by teenage shoplifter’ outside Co-op

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This is the Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who refused to investigate an alleged assault outside a supermarket, telling a member of the public that he did not want to ‘deal with it’.

PCSO Stewart Metcalfe, 58, was approached by a motorist who had watched a suspected teenage shoplifter ‘punch a woman who tried to stop her’ outside a Co-op store in Lancing, West Sussex.

The 58-year-old was sitting in his patrol car less than a minute’s walk from the supermarket but despite the pleas from the man he refused to budge telling him: ‘I’m not response.’

When urged to just drive round to the shop as a deterrent, PCSO Metcalfe told the man: ‘But then I have to deal with it.’

The conversation was recorded last Thursday on the motorist’s dash-cam and has since gone viral, causing a storm on social media.

This is the Police Community Support Officer Stewart Metcalfe who refused to investigate an alleged assault outside a supermarket, telling a member of the public that he did not want to 'deal with it'

This is the Police Community Support Officer Stewart Metcalfe who refused to investigate an alleged assault outside a supermarket, telling a member of the public that he did not want to ‘deal with it’

'I'm not a response unit unfortunately,' a police officer is heard saying in footage shared online

‘I’m not a response unit unfortunately,’ a police officer is heard saying in footage shared online

A witness says he asked a PCSO parked around the corner to attend the alleged fight outside Co-op in Lancing

A witness says he asked a PCSO parked around the corner to attend the alleged fight outside Co-op in Lancing

However, speaking at his home in nearby Worthing today, the PCSO told 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.’

Ironically PCSO Metcalfe joined Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne and local MP Tim Loughton, for a walkabout around Lancing in January – posing for a photograph outside the same Co-op he refused to attend last Thursday.

The walk was organised following concerns expressed by residents about safety in the area.

Based in Lancing, PCSO Metcalfe is also a Wildlife Crimes Officer working closely with local farmers and small holders.

In 2015 he was rewarded along with two colleagues for saving a man’s life on Lancing Beach.

The trio managed to stop the man from killings himself and were hailed at The Sussex Police West Sussex Divisional Awards, held in Arundel Castle.

Earlier today, the mother-of-three who was left to defend herself blasted the force in Sussex.

Rohany, 41, was punched and had a drink thrown at her by a 15-year-old suspected shoplifter outside the Co-Op store.

Recalling her ordeal, she told MailOnline: ‘I saw a number of teenagers stealing stuff.

‘I felt sorry for the security guard, who struggling and 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.

Sussex Police are investigating a report of shoplifting and an alleged assault at the Co-op in Lancing on Thursday June 29 (stock image)

Sussex Police are investigating a report of shoplifting and an alleged assault at the Co-op in Lancing on Thursday June 29 (stock image)

‘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.

‘I was conscious of the fact that she was just a teenager and I didn’t want to hurt her unnecessarily. But I needed to defend myself so I pushed and kicked her away from me.

‘Fortunately some other people had seen what was going on and intervened. As I went to pick my bag from the floor, the girl kicked it out of my reach.

‘She hung around briefly but later walked off. There is a field at the back of the Co-op where kids go and drink alcohol. That’s what I believe she and her friends were up to.’

Rohany said she was left with swelling and bruising to her face and slight cuts to her hand after the assault.

Good Morning Britain, who reported on the incident, said it took them 26 seconds to make the journey the police officer would have had to make

The witness who filmed the Sussex Police PCSO refusing to attend a fight outside a Co-op has claimed the officer ‘just couldn’t be bothered and was more interested in scrolling through his phone’ – as video of the supermarket fracas emerges. 

Fury is mounting after footage emerged of a PCSO refusing to attend an alleged assault just seconds away from where he was parked in Lancing – telling a member of the public who approached him for help ‘but then I’ll have to deal with it’.

Read more: Just what ARE the police for? 

More than 200,000 burglaries – almost 600 a day – went unsolved by police last year, shocking figures revealed in April.

Crime statistics published by the Government showed 77 per cent of cases were closed by police in England and Wales with no suspect identified.

It means that 209,424 domestic break-ins, or 574 a day, went unsolved, the analysis of official data by the Liberal Democrats revealed.

Separate Home Office data showed only 5.1 per cent of ‘violence against the person’ offences led to a suspect being taken to court. For robbery the figure was 6.6 per cent and for thefts 4.3 per cent.

Across all types of crime reported last year, just 5.6 per cent led to a suspect being charged or summonsed – roughly the same as the previous year. A further 4 per cent led to the offender being given a ‘slap on the wrist’ punishment.

The member of the public – who asked only to be named as Michael – urged the officer sitting in his marked police car to drive to the Co-Op store around the corner where it is alleged a teenage shoplifter had assaulted a female shopper. 

However, the Sussex Police PCSO refused to budge despite being parked less than a minute away, telling Michael he was not part of a response unit. The shocking conversation was captured on Michael’s car dash-cam on Thursday, with the footage going viral and causing a storm online.

Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Michael, a 43-year-old transport manager, today said: ‘What kind of message does this send out? – The police refusing to police? 

‘The PCSO couldn’t have seemed less interested. He was very dismissive, all I got from him was a ‘this isn’t my job’ vibe.

‘He told me he wasn’t in the response team so couldn’t do anything. But all he had to do was drive around the corner to the Co-Op where the woman had been assaulted and act as a visible deterrent.

‘The kids who were causing the bother wouldn’t have stayed around to know whether he was a PCSO or a fully warranted officer. They would’ve scarpered as soon as they saw the car.

‘Failing that, he could have radioed for help and got the response team round. But he didn’t do anything. He just sat there and told me it wasn’t what he was there for.’

The officer’s response is now being reviewed by the force, who have apologised for the ‘clumsy language used by the PCSO’ as they investigate. 

The incident comes as police are increasingly criticised over high numbers of reported crimes that never result in a conviction.

Michael said he had driven to the Co-Op near the centre of Lancing at around 6pm on Thursday just as a number of suspected teenage shoplifters were trying to make a getaway. 

He said: ‘There was one girl, around 15-years-old, who was trying to leave and she had a load of stuff hidden in her shoulder bag.

Based in Lancing, PCSO Metcalfe is also a Wildlife Crimes Officer working closely with local farmers and small holders

Based in Lancing, PCSO Metcalfe is also a Wildlife Crimes Officer working closely with local farmers and small holders

‘The security guard had tried to stop her leaving but she screamed loudly in his face. She was clearly drunk and he was reluctant to challenge her any further because she was so young.

‘A few customers took matters into their own hands and one woman got into a bit of a tussle with her.

‘The teenage girl looked as though she was drinking a can of Malibu and coke and she threw it all into this woman’s face, f-ing and blinding, before punching her.

‘At that point, myself and a few others stepped in and split them up. The teenage girl kicked the victim’s bag away which had fallen onto the ground and later walked off one way and her friends another. But the woman who’d been hit was really shook up.

‘I drove away and about a minute later, I spotted the police car parked by the side of the road and when I slowed down I saw there was an officer in the driver’s seat.

‘I told him what happened and thought he’d be round like a shot….but I was wrong and was left in complete disbelief that he couldn’t be bothered to do anything. It’s such a sad state of affairs and doesn’t exactly instill you with much confidence.’

A former Scotland Yard detective, Mike Neville, told MailOnline he was ‘appalled’ when he saw the video, saying every day the public’s trust in the police ‘ebbs away’ and that the footage shows ‘police are not on your side’. 

Another ex Scotland Yard detective, Peter Bleksley, has also since hit out at Sussex Police – telling Good Morning Britain the incident was a ‘dreadful look’ for the force and that an officer wearing a uniform and in a marked car should have dealt with the disturbance ‘and actually done what they are paid to do.’

In footage of the incident, a witness is heard telling the officer: ‘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.’

But the police officer told him: ‘I’m not a response unit unfortunately.’

The member of the public then says: ‘I know you’re not, but the sight of the car will make them scatter. ‘

The police officer then replies: ‘Yeah but then I’ll have to deal with it.’ 

‘Are you afraid to deal with it then,’ the man asks the officer, who tells him: ‘That’s not the point.’

But the member of the public is far from impressed and tells him: ‘It kind of is the point, that’s the perception.’

The officer then says: ‘It’s why I’m here and not round there.’ 

Mike Neville, former Scotland Yard detective, told MailOnline: ‘When you join the police you join to help the community. They have got to be able to deal with emergencies,’ he said.

‘It’s no good just sitting there. I was appalled.

‘Why was a PCSO driving a marked police car? Whatever they were doing there, if there’s an emergency police have got to stop and deal with it.’

He said the public were losing trust in the police, adding: ‘Every day the trust ebbs away.

‘The average working person feels they are being let down by the police, and this is just one example.

‘PCSOs are designed for low level crime and to trawl the streets.

‘The presence of a uniform could have defused the situation.

‘The video shows again that the police are not on your side.’

Good Morning Britain, who reported on the incident, said it took them 26 seconds to make the journey the police officer would have had to make from where he was parked up to the Co-op. 

A spokesman from Sussex Police told MailOnline: ‘We are aware of video footage of a single-crewed Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) 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.

‘The investigation into a report of assault and shoplifting is subject of a live investigation, and the victim has been contacted by officers.’

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.’

What powers do PCSOs have? 

  • In Sussex, PCSOs have the power to:  
  • Issue fixed penalty notices for cycling on a footpath  
  • Issue fixed penalty notices for littering
  • Issue fixed penalty notices in respect of offences under dog control orders
  • Require name and address
  • Require name and address for antisocial behaviour
  • Require name and address for road traffic offences
  • Require persons drinking in designated places to surrender alcohol
  • Require persons aged under 18 to surrender alcohol
  • Seize tobacco from a person aged under 16
  • Enter and search any premises for the purposes of saving life and limb or preventing serious damage to property
  • Seize vehicles used to cause alarm
  • Remove abandoned vehicles under regulations made under section 99 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
  • Stop cycles
  • Control traffic for purposes other than escorting a load of exceptional dimensions 
  • Carry out road checks
  • Place signs 
  • Enforce cordoned areas 
  • Stop and search in authorised areas 
  • Issue penalty notices in respect of offences of disorder
  • Issue fixed penalty notices for truancy
  • Issue fixed penalty notices for excluded pupil found in a public place (for up to 30 minutes for the arrival of a police officer)
  • Deal with begging
  • Enforce certain licensing offences
  • Disperse groups and remove persons under 16 to their place of residence
  • Remove truants to designated premises
  • Search for alcohol and tobacco 
  • Enter licensed premises (with limitations)
  • Stop vehicles for testing
  • Direct traffic for the purposes of escorting abnormal loads
  • Issue a fixed penalty notice for cycling without lights
  • Require a person not to consume alcohol and/or to surrender alcohol where a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is in place   
  •  Source: Sussex Police. For full conditions click here.

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