City and Holbeck PCSO Kirsty Johnson writes the second and final part of her guest post on her life as a police community support officer in South Leeds…
Of course, we are part of the police so we have to be aware of which people are on the wanted list and also we do regular checks on recent offenders to try to reduce the risk of them offending again.
We also visit local residents who have been victims of crime to give them reassurance and, where necessary, crime reduction advice. This always seems to be appreciated and it often gives us an opportunity to speak to some of the vulnerable people who we may not otherwise have met – there are many elderly people who do not have anybody at all visiting them and really enjoy you taking an hour just to sit and have a chat.
All too often, certain groups of people may not be confident in dealing with the police so it’s great when you can put them at ease and feel that they would feel positively about speaking to you in future.
In my area, one of the most satisfying things is having a great relationship with the other services & professionals that work in the area – I regularly speak to the housing officer, nursery staff, ASB department, councillors, health visitor, church officials and environmental officers.
By keeping in regular contact we can air our concerns about any problems in the area and obviously this sometime may lead to referrals to social services or other authorities if we feel the situation necessitates it.
One of the important things for PCSO’s is to be easily accessible to the public so we are constantly looking for new ways of doing this – other than being out on the streets all day of course.
The ‘tried and tested’ methods are a monthly ’surgery’ where residents can visit to discuss any issues privately with us and attending our local PACT (Partners and Community Together) meetings where we update the attendees on crime figures or local issues and answer questions.
The meetings are also great for us to be able to find out what else is going on in the area (e.g. new buildings) and also find out what the priorities are for the local community.
Our newer means are our Holbeck NPT (Neighbourhood Policing Team) website and also Twitter, which I am involved in updating. No doubt it won’t be long before we have our own Facebook page too – social media seems to be the way forward to reach as many people as possible, especially those who lead busy lives so can’t get to meeting and suchlike.
Throughout the year, we are often involved in traffic control, be it for a road traffic accident or a protest or parade. One of my favourite days of the year is the ‘Faith Walk’ which involves people from many different religions joining together to celebrate their similarities and learn more about each other – this is usually finished off by an amazing meal at the Sikh Temple which the PCSO’s get to enjoy too! It is really a unique and fantastic occasion and I rarely see anybody stop smiling all day.
To be honest, I could really go on forever about the things our job involves; missing people, parking issues, visiting community groups, housing issues, nuisance motorbikes, stolen/abandoned/untaxed vehicles, false 999 calls and the list goes on.
What really makes it great is the local residents…some real ‘personalities’ and lots of very genuine, caring people. They could make all of those police TV shows for the next century and never show the variety of things that we get involved with in one week!
Kirsty Johnson is PCSO 0244
Holbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team: 0113 2414629
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