County news: Police respond to '˜pen-lending' video at Sussex polling station

Sussex Police has responded to negative comments towards an officer who was filmed interviewing a woman outside a Chichester polling station on Thursday.

In a post on Facebook, the force defended the PCSO, who was called to deal with an allegation of threatening behaviour during the referendum vote in Durnford Close.

The video, which was posted on Twitter, showed the PCSO taking down the details of ‘Jacqueline Jackson’ who was handing out pens to voters.

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Superintendent Ed De La Rue, who was in charge of the policing of polling stations across the county, said: “There have been a lot of negative comments directed towards one of our PCSOs as a result of this video being posted online, which is unfair.

“An emergency call was made to police about threatening behaviour outside the polling station so we sent a PSCO to find out what was going on.

“As the video shows, the PCSO discussed the report of threatening and intimidating behaviour with the woman to establish the circumstances and was satisfied that no action was needed. She spoke with the woman in a polite and pleasant way and recorded her decision in her notebook, which is usual and lawful, and left.

“Having watched the video the PCSO handled things in a really professional manner.”

The footage has been re-tweeted more than 3,300 times, partly in response to a conspiracy theory that M15 would erase votes marked in pencil under the hashtag #UsePens.

Some readers noted that the PSCO was ‘just doing her job’, but elsewhere comments were not as supportive of the countywide force.

Sussex Police’s preceeding statement read: “We are aware of negative comments being directed towards one of our PCSOs after a video was posted online showing her talking to a woman outside a polling station in Chichester.

“We would like to clarify that an emergency call was made to police by a volunteer at the polling station in Durnford Close at around 12.25pm on Thursday (23 June) to a report of a disturbance and threatening behaviour.

“A PCSO who was in the area went along to establish the circumstances.

“She spoke to a woman who was handing out pens outside the polling station and recorded the interaction in her notebook as a matter of course due to allegations being made about the woman’s intimidating behaviour towards the polling official.”

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