Derbyshire Constabulary is gearing up to commemorate a decade since the introduction of police community support officers (PCSOs) across the county.
43 PCSOs started out on the beat back in 2005, now there are hundreds making up more than 90 Safer Neighbourhood teams across Derbyshire.
Their key role is to provide high visibility patrols and reassurance in the community, working with residents and partner agencies to solve neighbourhood concerns, including issues such as anti-social behaviour, vandalism and nuisance drivers.
Six members of the original group are still PCSOs including John Lockwood from Chesterfield Town Centre team; Stephen Cathcart from Shirebrook area; Sue Cooke from Staveley; Sue Lester who’s a member of the Wirksworth and Middleton team; Micheal Coates from the Wingerworth and Rural team; Kate Wakefield who patrols Carsington and Tissington areas and Will Brockett from New Mills and Hayfield.
PCSO John Lockwood started out in Clay Cross but has now moved to the Chesterfield Town Centre Safer Neighbourhood Team. He said: “I spent my first days alongside fellow PCSO Eleanor Sadler, who is now a serving police officer. We spent time in the local area, building bridges with the community and meeting local residents.
“The job role has changed considerably over the last ten years and the range of duties we undertake has increased, but the main role of the PCSO, to be a visible presence within their area, has remained the same.”
PCSO Sue Cooke has been based at Staveley Police Station since day one, working on the Brimington beat for three years before moving on the Staveley, Mastin Moor and Woodthorpe policing areas.
She said: “This is a role that brings me a variety of challenges and is ultimately very satisfying when I know I have provided support and reassurance to people. I genuinely love my job and being part of a great team has helped me to develop my confidence over the years, both professionally and personally.”
PCSO Will Brockett from the New Mills and Hayfield Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “PCSO’s are now the face of Derbyshire police and the main contact when it comes to schools, councils, housing and businesses to name a few.
“We are able to fill the gaps that weren’t possible to be filled by response officers due to the vast areas and emergency calls they have to cover.
“Over the years I have done talks with teenagers at school and now I see the same people dropping off their children at primary schools. The fact we are the same faces and we’ve been here for over ten years now, makes people feel much more comfortable speaking to us.”
To contact your local Safer Neighbourhood team call the non-emergency number for Derbyshire police 101.