2008 articles

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select for full story Southport CSO award nomination
Nov 7 2008 by Katie Grant, Southport Visiter

TONY Williams has strong contacts in Southport and surrounding areas and colleagues say his local knowledge is “second-to-none”.

The 46-year-old is nominated for The Community Support Officer of the Year Award for his hard work and commitment.

The dad-of-two used to work for Barclays Bank but became a Community Support Officer three years ago because he wanted to put something back into the community. Originally from Maghull, Mr Williams is now a well-known face around Southport town centre.

The Everton FC supporter said: “Southport is a great community, there are lots of people willing to get involved and help us out with information.

“We hold Homewatch groups once a month to find out what people are concerned about in their local area.”

When a local Hebrew congregation received threatening letters Mr Williams took it upon himself to find the culprit.

Using links to other religious groups, he discovered that a Catholic church was receiving similar malicious letters.

Mr Williams was instrumental in piecing together evidence, and detectives were able to later identify and arrest the man they believe responsible.

A Merseyside Police spokesman said: “He truly wants to make his neighbourhood a better place, and he does.

“Because of his endearing nature he is extremely popular with community members, colleagues and partner agencies.

“In his unselfish attitude he doesn’t crave recognition, his reward is that he has helped to improve the quality of life in his community.”

select for full story Mandi swaps the bank for the beat
7:40am Wednesday 5th November 2008
By Emily Walker

FIVE years ago Mandi Coles was sat behind a desk in a bank.

Now having helped put youths heading into lives of crime back on the straight and narrow, freed junkies from their addictions and sniffed out organised crime on her beat, Police Community Support Officer Coles has been nominated for a national award.

Mandi has become a regular fixture on the Stratton beat, and earlier this year uncovered a cannabis factory after acting on concerns raised by local residents in Kipling Gardens, Upper Stratton.

Drugs officers seized thousands of pounds worth of extra strength cannabis plants from a factory hidden in the sleepy cul-de-sac in February after Mandi picked up on a comment from a neighbour.

The raid lead to police cracking an organised crime gang operating out of Swindon.

Later this month, Mandi will join police colleagues from across the country at the prestigious Jane’s Police Review Gala Awards.

PCSO Coles was nominated for the Community Support Officer of the Year Award by Inspector Mark Sellers and Sgt Madge Lynch.

“I’m very chuffed,” she said after hearing she had been nominated.

“My mum said it is like being nominated for an Oscar.”

In 2006, PCSO Coles helped teenager Chris Singleton, who was regularly linked to antisocial behaviour, realise his ambition of joining the army and is currently working with a recovering heroin addict to help him stay clean.

“I helped get him into the army,” she said. “That was a couple of years ago now. He’s left the army now but still keeping himself out of trouble.

“The older lot are turning 21 now. I still see them around and they say hello, even if I’m not on duty, just out shopping or something.

“I’ve been working with one addict to help him get housing. I’ll call him up every so often, check he’s alright and offer him support.”

Despite her ability to sniff out a crime at a hundred paces, Mandi said she would never want to become a full blown PC.

“I like being in the middle,” she said. “I suppose I’m a bit like an auntie figure. If people want help they can come to me knowing I’m not going to arrest them, but at the same time I can try and help make the neighbourhood a safer place.”

Mandi, who previously worked for Lloyds and Zurich, has set up a number of schemes to encourage youngsters in the Stratton area stay away from crime.

She regularly visits schools, organises football matches between police officers and local youths, and has started a weapons box system so youngsters can hand over knives without fear of prosecution.

Rajinder Basi West Midlands police awards 2008

Acts of outstanding courage and dedication by police officers and members of the public were celebrated in a special ceremony in Wolverhampton.

The tributes were led by Chief Superintendent Richard Green, Operational Commander for Wolverhampton West, who told a packed conference room at the city’s Mount Hotel: “There are lots of good things about my job but this is one of the best.”

More than 70 people, including officers, civilian staff, community support officers, special constables and residents, received commendations at last night’s awards ceremony.

Among them were all 16 members of the Bilston Street station’s custody block, who have achieved the best performance figures throughout the West Midlands force, a position they have held for nine months and one unequalled by any other command unit in the region.

The impact of their success has freed up officers from time-consuming station duties, releasing them to spend more time on patrol duty.

A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) from Maidenhead has achieved recognition for his outstanding contribution.         Tuesday, 22 July 2008

At a recent performance review, attended by Thames Valley Police’s Chief Constable and senior police officers from across the Force, PCSO Andrew Hitchcock was commended for his tireless commitment to neighbourhood policing and to serving the people of Pinkneys Green and Furze Platt.

In his citation, Ch Supt David Lewis, commander of Berkshire East Basic Command Unit, praised Andrew for his dedication, proactivity and energy, which have made him one of the best performing PCSOs in the Thames Valley.

Since joining the Pinkneys Green and Furze Platt neighbourhood team in April 2007, Andrew has established an exceptional record.

Talking about his role as a PCSO, Andrew said: “One of the things I most enjoy about my job is the variety it gives me. As well as patrolling the neighbourhood and interacting with local residents, I have also been involved in gathering intelligence, providing care and advice to victims of crime, setting up crime prevention initiatives and assisting with the policing of major events such as Royal Ascot.”

PCSOs are a vital part of the wider Thames Valley Police family. They are uniformed members of police staff whose role is to support the work of regular police officers working within a community.

PCSOs wear a similar uniform to police officers and provide high visibility patrols to tackle lower level crime and disorder, nuisance and anti-social behaviour within the neighbourhood. In order to reduce these problems, the PCSOs patrol known crime and anti-social hot-spot areas, as well as with monitoring Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. Having these officers to patrol the area frees up time for regular officers, so that they can concentrate on more serious crimes and incidents.

Thames Valley Police is currently recruiting PCSOs in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough and Bracknell areas. For further information, please see our advertisements in the local newspapers, contact the recruitment team on 01865 846612 or email:

Get more real police on the streets says tragic mum

THE NEWS | 31.7.08

A heartbroken mother has said 'more real police' are needed on our streets in the wake of the killing of her son in a street fight.

Theresa Roots believes more police officers must be found to patrol the streets, as she told The News of her heartache at the death of her son Jed Sheridan.

Thresa Roots with Jed's brother Sam and sister Tadhgh In the week she saw his killer Terry Sewell, 20, jailed for life for murder she described the night her teenage son went out full of sunshine and happiness and came home dying.

Sewell, 20, will serve at least 13 years in jail for his part in the violence which led to Jed's death – Sewell kicked the 19-year-old twice in the head during a street fight in Norway Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, on October 26 last year.

After the fight Jed went home to bed, but his mum found him dead the next day after he suffered a blood clot to the brain.

She has now made an impassioned call for more police officers, and questioned the growing numbers of police community support officers.

'There is a lot of nasty crime out there and we need more police,' she said. 'There are parks round here where everybody knows there is underage drinking and drug taking going on but nothing is done about it. I don't think Jed's death will make people learn, unless we have real police that can do things.

'We were lucky to have support from the police after Jed died, but that does not change the fact we do not have enough real police.'

Her comments come as the judge in Sewell's trial Mr Justice Roderick Evans attacked the 'stupid violence' that decent people see as a blight on the streets of our towns and cities.

Mrs Roots also questioned the wisdom of having fully-trained police officers acting as family liaison officers, a role she believes could be filled by others.

She said: 'Family liaison officers do not need to be real police officers but could be more like administrative support staff.'

Theresa should have been celebrating her 40th birthday yesterday, but instead is still full of anger and sadness at the tragedy which hit her family. She is furious at her son being described as a 'chav' during the trial.

He was six weeks into a foundation course in Art and Design at the University of Portsmouth, something his family were incredibly proud about.

On the night he died he was out celebrating with friends after completing a piece of coursework.

'I don't want Jed to be remembered as a hoodie, because that wasn't who he was. He was at university and celebrating the end of his coursework that night.

'He went out full of sunshine and happiness and he came home dying. You think you do everything you can as a parent but this – it shatters your life.'

Inspector John Snook, who spearheads the Drink Safe campaign in Portsmouth designed to combat drink-fuelled violence, said it was impossible to have officers everywhere, all the time.

There are 423 fully-trained officers in Portsmouth, and 50 community support officers.

'Obviously it's always good to have as many police officers as possible but it's a question of if there is the finances there to do that.

There are now a growing number of police community support officers walking our streets. But what does the role actually entail? LUCY BOLTON met a newly trained PCSO to find out.
My life as a PCSO       Lucy Collyer with her husband Richard and children, Hannah 13 (left), Jamie 15 (right) and Amber 10.NORWICH EVENING NEWS | 14 July 2008

When Lucy Collyer grew up she dreamt of being a police officer. The 41-year-old applied to the Metropolitan Police 20 years ago but failed to get in because of her poor eye sight.

She went on to get married, have three children, now 10, 13 and 15, and eventually became a teaching assistant. But she never forgot about her ongoing ambition to be a policewoman.

As her children grew older she thought why not try again, now the rules of entry had been relaxed, so three years ago she joined as a special constable before beginning her 18-week-long training in February to become a police community support officer (PCSO).

More than four months on she is now a full-time PCSO.

She said: “I enjoy working and engaging with people and saw being a PCSO as an ideal opportunity. Quite a lot of our work is going into schools and talking to kids. As I worked in a school as a teaching assistant I think that's really helped me with going into schools and feeling confident talking to children.”

Based at both Hoveton and Stalham police stations, Mrs Collyer is one of 261 PCSOs in the county. Brought in by central government in 2003 the roles were created to be an additional presence and the “eyes and ears” of the street.

PCSO Collyer works for Norfolk Constabulary and like other officers wears a uniform, differentiated by her blue shirt - rather than standard officer's white shirts.

But unlike standard police officers she has far fewer enforcement powers and cannot even arrest someone.

She said: “I can only make an arrest like a citizen's arrest - like anyone can, and I don't carry a CS spray, a baton or handcuffs - our best defence is communication.

“I also have to see the incident happening - a police officer can arrest someone after the event, we can't do that, we have to be there.”

As part of their role, often affiliated to one of the 52 safer neighbourhood teams in the county, PCSOs are there to provide a “visible and reassuring presence within communities” sealing off crime areas, dealing with community issues and attending safer neighbourhood meetings - and then tackling the priority problems.

Forces have increasingly turned to PCSOs in recent years. Some critics have argued they provide policing on the cheap and have replaced more highly trained and better equipped police offices on the streets.

However, PCSO Collyer believes they have an important role to play in the fight against crime.

She said: “Our role is not to deal with conflict but of course you're there on the streets so it does happen."

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  2008 articles