However, PCSO Steve has not proved universally popular. Because, you see, Steve is a white man, with blond hair and blue eyes. In other words, the embodiment of evil. And this has upset certain people, who feel that Steve is insufficiently diverse for London. Indeed, one police sergeant was so angered by the depiction of Steve as a white man, that he wrote to the Met's in-house magazine, The Job, to complain:
An Asian member of our team agreed to fulfil the role of Steve, getting inside the suit. However, he was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and, because the character is a white, blond-haired male - who would not have dark-skinned arms - it became apparent that the officer would not be able to perform the role. Female members of the team also felt isolated, due to the gender issue. I understand the concept of using a mascot. However, why wasn't more thought put into the development of the character?Possibly because they're creating a mascot to entertain children with, not writing a novel with the aim of winning the Booker Prize.
Now, as far as I'm concerned, there are far better things for police money to be spent on than this costume (although, to be fair, PCSO Steve is probably no more useless than any other PCSO). While I can understand the police wanting to build relations with local communities, including schoolchildren, I think that this would be achieved rather more easily by sending real-life PCSOs (or better yet, real officers) to talk to the children. At least they ought to be able to command the respect of the children, whereas PCSO Steve is merely a figure of fun, who will make the police force as a whole appear (even more) ridiculous.
But isn't this letter just contemptible? "Female members of the team felt isolated", for Heaven's sake! These people are adults, aren't they? Well, maybe not all of them, but most probably are, and I would have thought that adults - particularly those who are employed in some form of law enforcement capacity - would have had sufficient fortitude to be able to cope with a costume which depicted someone of a different race or sex from them.
And, really, if the Asian PCSO wanted to play Steve that badly, then I'm sure it wouldn't have mattered that much if Steve's arms had been a different colour from his face. I hardly think that realism is of the essence of the 'Steve' character, anyway!
What really worries me, however, is that this ridiculous letter was not written by some Guardian-reading academic or social worker, but by a police sergeant. Further evidence, I fear, of quite how far political correctness has infiltrated every corner of the public services. Now, wouldn't it be nice if this sergeant was rather more concerned with, you know, cutting crime, than with whether comical mascots might hurt the feelings of women or non-whites?