'No two days are the same' - what it's like working for Sussex's Neighbourhood Policing Teams
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To mark the national week of action, officers have shared their experiences of what it's like working within Sussex's Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
Eastbourne and Wealden PCSO Nick Cox (pictured above)
I have worked for Sussex Police for six years. The first part of my career I was in the control room taking the 999 and 101 calls. This gave me a good working knowledge of Sussex Police and how we can help victims and the communities that they live in.
After working in that role I wanted to get out from behind a desk and be out helping the people I spoke to on the phone more. Two years ago I decided to make the move to become a PCSO.
It sounds like a cliché but every day is different - one minute you could be dealing with a neighbour dispute or engaging with the general public at organised events, then you could be called to assist with a collision, closing roads, or even protecting scenes where major incidents have occurred.
Last week I was on an operation aimed at disrupting anti-social behaviour issues being caused by a group of young people in Eastbourne. During our patrols members of the group were seen and spoken to having been abusive to employees at a shop in the town centre. The group were told to leave the centre and a Section 35 Dispersal Order was then requested in order to disperse the youths if they continued to cause issues.
This blended into a joint operation with British Transport Police over the next two days where we were asked to assist BTP and Rail Enforcement Officers (REO) based at Eastbourne and Hampden Park railway stations. Over the two days, a total of 45 penalty fares and one Section 23 cannabis warning were issued. While at Hampden Park station, we also spotted a high-risk missing person and were able to ensure their safe return.
After the operation had stood down, myself and my colleague went to conduct our Direct Patrol Activity in local crime hotspots. While doing this a call came over the radio asking for assistance for a male in distress. We arrived and tried to engage with the man until a Response officer was on scene. Fortunately, the man was talked down and this allowed Sussex Police to arrange the support he needed.
Lewes and Newhaven PCSO Amy Mason
The afternoon started with an appointment I made earlier in the week to visit an elderly man who has been scammed out of £500. This particular scam relates to a phishing email purporting to be one of the victim’s contacts and asking the victim to buy some gift cards.
Full details were taken and advice given; these visits are very common in the daily life of a PCSO as sadly many people fall victim to all sorts of scams.
While dealing with that appointment, a call came in that a 12-year-old girl had gone missing, so off I go with my colleague to search for her. At times like these it’s all hands to the deck as time is of the essence; thank goodness she was found safe in a relatively short space of time.
I then headed back to the coast to check out a report of an unauthorised encampment, and after that I shall be heading to carry out our Direct Patrol Activities in which we target areas that have experienced some kind of issues of late. The colourful beach huts pictured have suffered some damage in the past from attempted break-ins and therefore I endeavour to include them in my patrol activity.
All in all quite a varied shift which is what I like and definitely no time for boredom!
Rother PCSO Rachael Scott
I have been a PCSO for nearly 18 years now. I am also a tutor so I like to try and pass on my knowledge and experience over the years to new PCSOs.
It’s a long time to have been in one role, but I can honestly say that it’s the kind of job which is like no other. Every day is different, you never know quite what you might come into and face each day.
As a PCSO you may get involved in a number of things: guarding the scene of a major crime such as a murder or serious assault; you may start your day going straight out to deal with a collision where you will be required to undertake traffic management to ensure the safety for other road users; you may have to complete house-to-house enquiries for different crimes whereby witnesses are being sought after.
As a PCSO you will be called to jobs such as neighbourhood disputes, carrying out local enquiries for other forces, dealing with and investigating crimes to victims who have been scammed. You may be asked to attend an address where a welfare check is needed on someone who hasn’t been seen for a few days, or for assistance to look for missing people. Some of the more obscure calls include a dog/horse/sheep loose in the road, or a fallen tree blocking the carriageway, or maybe a suspicious package that needs dealing with.
Quite often we are also called upon to deal with issues involving the Street Community or someone vulnerable who just needs our help. A big part of our role is also dealing with children and young people - sometimes for anti-social behaviour, drinking and drugs - but ultimately it's about protecting them from harm.
Our work is in the community. We build links and relationships that can be trusted. We report the suspicious and the unusual, always keeping an eye on everything that is going on. Obviously crime prevention is what we are about!
Licensing officer PC Daren Buck
Day to day, I'm responsible for ensuring licensed premises comply with the law and with over 800 premises in my area of responsibility spread over three districts, my job is certainly varied.
One of my many roles is the creation and implementation of proactive operations - from test purchasing to the use of passive drugs dogs, deployments of undercover officers into premises, screening premises for controlled drugs and monitoring offences linked to premises, taking action as appropriate.
As well as this, I oversee public events across the area and scrutinise applications and activities connected to the sale of alcohol.
It's a privileged role that allows me to diversify and I have been responsible for implementing 'Project Wave' following the increase in violence against women and girls, and was also given the opportunity to run Op Safety for a period of time, focusing on knife crime and serious violence.
Rother Police Sergeant Mark Tansley
Being a Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant is a challenging but ultimately rewarding role. I get to lead a team of Police Constables and Police Community Support officers whilst taking the lead for community engagement within my geographical area of responsibility.
As a team we manage community issues, working closely with partner agencies we tackle all manner of problems from anti-social behaviour to drug-related harm. We aim to take demand away from other frontline police areas by resolving the cause of criminality and adopting a problem solving approach.
We use key data, experience and local knowledge to identify areas and people at risk of harm, or those at risk of causing harm to our community. We tackle problems head on with days of actions, proactive policing and preventative patrols as well as through a more strategic, long-term approach bringing in the collective knowledge and power of the wider partnership, recognising that the answers are often found within that collaborative work.
My team know their areas inside out and work tirelessly to build trust in policing providing that all important visible police presence.
Rother NPT Inspector Olivia Carroll
Every day is different as an NPT inspector - similar to most roles in the force, you just don’t know what’s going to land in your inbox when you start your day. NPT is such a varied role and this will give you a snapshot of my week:
My week started with making a phone call to a member of the public to arrange something for her late husband’s funeral next week. He served overseas and in Sussex Police in the 1960s. She was extremely grateful that we could assist and I'd like to think that we’ve made a very difficult time for her, that little bit easier.
Yesterday, I attended a bi-weekly intelligence meeting which looks at how we work together across Hastings and Rother to manage any emerging issues, how we target those causing us most harm and share intelligence to drive our work over the next two weeks. I also joined the Rother Partnership Joint Action Group - a multi-agency meeting with the fire service, district council, community associations and housing associations among those represented. The theme for this meeting was to explore the youth activities in Rye. We also agreed some funding bids into the partnership to support a youth service in Bexhill and exploitation training for taxi drivers across Rother.
Today was spent dealing with any emerging incidents across Sussex, briefing officers and completing a community tension assessment. The rest of the day was spent checking in with staff and having conversations with councillors about how we deal with speeding and the work that the Safer Sussex Roads Partnership is implementing across the force.
Tomorrow, I will attend a weekly catch-up with Rother District Council's community safety manager. We catch up each week to make sure we are sharing intelligence and dealing with anything high-risk together, managing ongoing cases across Rother. In the afternoon I will be undertaking a visit to a school with our Neighbourhood Youth Officer to meet with the headteacher.
This is a snapshot of my week and a busy one it's been!