Cops and Robbers
Monday, July 19th, 2021
Back in February 2020, we published a news item entitled “Valuing the Role of our Neighbourhood PCSOs”. Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) provide a visible on-the-ground presence, integral to delivering effective neighbourhood policing. Lacking the arrest powers of Police Officers, the PCSO’s skill set includes communication, relationship building, problem-solving, and knowledge of locality and community.
Supt Amy Clements, Local Policing Area Commander for Chiltern & South Bucks, summarised: “underestimate them at your peril, they are our eyes and ears within the community.”
This could not have been better illustrated by recent LPA Commanders Awards given to PCSOs Jacqueline Day, Jen Shrager and Lesley Roche for outstanding policing work.
PCSOs Day and Shrager, from the Amersham and Chalfonts neighbourhood teams, received their awards for their persistence in observing and following up an instance of an elderly resident being targetted by neighbours. Outwardly befriending the resident, the neighbours were in fact taking advantage in many ways, and the incident would have escalated into the ‘cuckooing’ of an ex-convict into the elderly resident’s home. An initial investigation had been unable to find sufficient evidence to proceed. Through instinct based on local knowledge and observation, PCSOs Day and Shrager identified that something was amiss, and their great persistence resulted in the case being reopened, arrests being made and the elderly resident safeguarded.
The incident that earned Chesham-based PCSO Lesley Roche her commendation also showed community and local knowledge, and remarkable persistence. Receiving a report of a local burglary, she observed someone already known to her approaching with a pillow case in hand. PCSO Roche was also evidently well known to the suspect, who ran off! Pursuing the suspect, and using local knowledge to anticipate his route, PCSO Roche delivered a running radio commentary to colleagues, and the suspect was eventually apprehended.
Within her statement, PCSO Roche mentioned that as a PCSO, she was unable to put ‘hands on’ the suspect, and this was a reminder of the constraints under which PCSOs operate. Those who know PCSO Roche will know that she is not the tallest officer in the force, and her behaviour displayed another quality, namely courage.
Once apprehended, the suspect’s pillow case was emptied. It turned out to contain stolen items, which could be returned to their rightful owner. Subsequently, the suspect owned up to a further 6 to 8 burglaries.
Do you know your PCSOs?
We would encourage residents to take a moment where possible to get to know their local PCSOs. This could be by stopping for a chat when they meet them on the street. Or by coming along to one of the monthly ‘Have Your Say’ meetings held by Neighbourhood Policing and Community Safety in each of the neighbourhood areas.
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