‘Suspended? He should be commended’
HUSBAND OF WOMAN VICTIM OF HIT-RUN HORROR BLASTS INVESTIGATION INTO PCSO WHO CAUGHT CRASH DRIVER
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