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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
PCSOs 'did not watch boy drown'
Jordon Lyon
Jordon was pulled from the water but could not be resuscitated

Two community support officers "did not stand by and watch" a 10-year-old boy drown, a police chief has said.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson defended the PCSOs after the death of Jordon Lyon, who drowned in a pond in Wigan, Greater Manchester, on 3 May.

He said officers were not expected to rescue people from water and they could not see where Jordon was in the lake.

Instead, the PCSOs summoned extra help and made sure emergency services could locate the scene.

Jordon had leapt into the water at John Pit after his eight-year-old stepsister Bethany got into difficulties as they collected tadpoles.

He was trying to support Bethany as she struggled in the six-feet-deep water before slipping from view.

Two anglers waded in and pulled Bethany to safety using their rods but Jordon became submerged.

The alarm was raised and the PCSOs arrived. Police said they could see no sign of Jordon in the water, so they radioed trained officers for help.

Jordon's stepfather Anthony Ganderton also arrived on the scene and he plunged into the water.

Mr Thompson said they would not encourage any police officer to jump into the water because of the dangers and he paid tribute to the PCSOs for "acting correctly".

But he insisted: "The two PCSOs involved did not stand by and watch Jordon die.

John Pit
The pond is at a well-known beauty spot in Wigan

"They acted correctly and I fully support the actions they took.

"The initial call to police gave the wrong location. This was no-one's fault, as the lake is known by several different names locally and there are other similar lakes nearby.

"The PCSOs managed to establish the correct location and immediately informed the control room to ensure the emergency services were sent there.

"One PCSO cycled to the road to alert other emergency services as they headed to the scene, while the other remained at the lake.

"Again it is important to stress that Jordon had not been seen for some time before their arrival. The inquest established that, tragically, at the time of the PCSOs' arrival, Jordan was probably dead.

"We do not encourage police and PCSOs to carry out this kind of underwater rescue. They are not trained in this type of rescue, which is fraught with danger.

Tracy Ganderton
Mrs Ganderton wants the PCSOs to be named

"Everyone involved in this incident has been deeply affected and saddened by the loss of a young life."

Jordon's mother Tracy Ganderton, of Bluebell Avenue, Wigan, is demanding to know why the PCSOs did not try to rescue Jordon and why they did not give evidence at the inquest held by deputy West Manchester coroner Alan Walsh on Friday.

'Through the pain'

Mrs Ganderton said: "You don't care if you're going to lose your job or not, you don't care do you?

"I want to know why they didn't go in, I want to know why they weren't at the inquest when I had to turn up there, and go through the pain of it all."

An inquest into Jordon's death recorded a verdict of accidental death last week.

The Home Office have defended the role of PCSOs.

A spokeswoman said: "Community Support Officers are an invaluable addition to policing and have a primary focus on engaging with their local community, providing high visibility reassurance policing dealing with low level crime.

"They are an integral part of police officer-led Neighbourhood Policing Teams.

"They are a complement to, not a replacement for, sworn police officers. There are now more 16,000 PCSOs

"Guidance advises PCSOs not to enter into life threatening situations for which they are not trained."

Statement by Greater Manchester Police

Police defend drowning death case
21 Sep 07 |  Manchester
Pond boy died after saving sister
04 May 07 |  Manchester
Schoolboy dies after pond rescue
04 May 07 |  Manchester

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