‘Sus­pended? He should be com­mended’

HUSBAND OF WOMAN VIC­TIM OF HIT-RUN HOR­ROR BLASTS IN­VES­TI­GA­TION INTO PCSO WHO CAUGHT CRASH DRIVER

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By NEAL KEEL­ING neal.keel­ing@men-news.co.uk @neal­keel­ing­men

EIGHT months ago John Can­non ran into woods to chase and ar­rest a hit-and-run driver who had left a pen­sioner with life-chang­ing in­juries.

The Po­lice Com­mu­nity Sup­port Of­fi­cer (PCSO) says he was praised by his boss for his grit and the cul­prit was later jailed for three years.

But he now be­lieves his will­ing­ness to get stuck in has left his ca­reer with Greater Manch­ester Po­lice on hold for eight months.

He has been sus­pended since the day af­ter the in­ci­dent while the po­lice watch­dog in­ves­ti­gates his ac­tions. And the fam­ily of the hi­tand-run vic­tim have called for him to be com­mended, not dis­ci­plined.

John, 62, a PCSO for 11 years and by his own ad­mis­sion ‘an old fash­ioned of­fi­cer,’ should be on his beat in Mos­ton but in­stead is sit­ting at home on half-pay.

He was in­ter­viewed by the In­de­pen­dent Po­lice Com­plaints Com­mis­sion (IPCC) in July, but says he is still in limbo.

The IPCC say their in­ves­ti­ga­tion ‘has been con­ducted thor­oughly and in good time’ and they are ‘fi­nal­is­ing the re­port.’

GMP say they can­not com­ment un­til the IPCC have fin­ished their work.

John’s sus­pen­sion stems from his claim that he did not use any emer­gency equip­ment while fol­low­ing the drink-driver’s ve­hi­cle.

CCTV re­cov­ered by GMP the fol­low­ing day shows that the marked po­lice ve­hi­cle had its flash­ing lights ac­ti­vated as it drove through a junc­tion.

He is fac­ing po­ten­tial dis­ci­plinary ac­tion for al­leged gross mis­con­duct as his ‘hon­esty and in­tegrity’ has been brought into ques­tion.

Christo­pher Raczkiewicz, 39, the drink-driver who Mr Can­non ar­rested with help from an off-duty mil­i­tary po­lice of­fi­cer, was jailed for three years in July.

He left 76-year-old Win­nifred Upton with mul­ti­ple in­juries af­ter he jumped two red lights at up to 50mph in his Toy­ota Hilux pick-up truck, run­ning her down as she walked her dog over a pedes­trian cross­ing.

Manch­ester’s Min­shull Street Crown Court heard the busi­ness con­trac­tor, who had been drink­ing af­ter a row with his wife about money, was seen stag­ger­ing around a su­per­mar­ket min­utes be­fore the crash.

Mrs Upton, from Mid­dle­ton, sur­vived the im­pact, but suf­fered frac­tures to her skull, ribs, pelvis, spine, shoul­der, jaw, right eye socket and left leg. She spent six months in hos­pi­tal, and now walks with the aid of sticks.

Raczkiewicz, from Black­ley, ad­mit­ted caus­ing se­ri­ous in­jury by dan­ger­ous driv­ing. He will be banned from driv­ing for three years fol­low­ing his re­lease from prison.

PCSO John said: “I was driv­ing down Vic­to­ria Av­enue East at about 9.30pm when a male came run­ning across the road. He said: ‘You need to go into Tesco, there is a chap dressed from head to foot in high vis­i­bil­ity cloth­ing and he is plas-

tered.’ I iden­ti­fied him and as he ap­proached the back of my ve­hi­cle I gave him a stop hand sig­nal. Upon see­ing me he sped straight out onto Vic­to­ria Av­enue East.”

A short time later on nearby Manch­ester Road, Raczkiewicz’s truck over­turned and hit Mrs Upton.

John said: “I saw a plume of smoke com­ing up. I re­alised it was his ve­hi­cle. I put my blue lights on and went through a set of traf­fic lights to warn traf­fic be­hind me and com­ing for­ward. Just as I was get­ting to his ve­hi­cle, to my dis­be­lief he ran across in front of me into wood­land.

“I then pur­sued him on my own for about 150 yards into the woods. I man­aged to get hold of him, pin­ning him to the floor and putting his arm up his back. We don’t have hand­cuffs or any­thing else as a PCSO.”

Helped by an off-duty mil­i­tary po­lice man, he ar­rested him.

“As a PCSO I’m not sup­posed to pur­sue,” John said.

“I wasn’t pur­su­ing, ve­hi­cle-wise, but on foot there was no way that bloke was go­ing to get away from me. When the traf­fic sergeant came up to me that night he said ‘that’s a great job. We are not look­ing for a drink-driver.’

“I wrote in my notebook. ‘I ac­ti­vated my blue light to warn other driv­ers.’

“At the end of the day I’ve suf­fered for do­ing a good job.

“When I got sus­pended it was such a body punch. I have never done any­thing wrong in my work life.”

Sus­pended PCSO John Can­non and, left, hit-run vic­tim Win­nifred Upton and her husband Ken­neth

PCSO John Can­non has been sus­pended for eight months af­ter he caught a hit-run driver

Christo­pher Rack­iewicz

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