Our PCSOs provide vital support to our officers and make a real difference in Bedfordshire’s communities. PCSO Elliot Weedon writes about the things he has been dealing with in his nine years as a PCSO.
I’ve been with Bedfordshire Police for almost 11 years, nine of those as a PCSO. For the past few years I’ve been a part of the Priority Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) Team, dealing with a lot of neighbour disputes and anti-social behaviour in and around Leighton Buzzard.
A lot of neighbour disputes have existing issues behind them, like mental health issues, so it’s important we work with the right external partners to resolve these.
I work closely with councils, schools and mental health teams as well as any other agencies that deal with issues that we might need support with. It’s important that we work together to protect the most vulnerable people in the county, as well as to get offenders to understand why they are doing what they are doing, and work to stop re-offending.
I’ve done a lot of work around the street drinkers in Leighton Buzzard, as it became apparent that more and more were coming into the town, drinking from very early on in the morning and then being abusive to people. That’s not very nice, especially if you’re a family with young children just out for the day to do some shopping.
So we’ve been working hard with other agencies to deal with the problem, and will continue to do so moving forward. There is a new piece of legislation which we can now put in place that bans people from the area if they have been causing a problem. If they breach that and continue to go into the area, we work with other partners to compile evidence and then take them to court. It’s an ongoing issue, although recently one of the more prolific street drinkers was taken to court and fined almost £2,000 and has since left the area.
We continue to work closely with retailers to tackle shop lifting in Leighton Buzzard as well. We have recently been successful in getting a persistent shop lifter banned from the High Street. The ban lasts indefinitely, so if he goes back he could end up in prison.
One of the things that drives me is trying to help people and get a positive outcome for victims, or being that point of contact to make sure people are ok. I’ve got two transgender hate crime cases going on at the moment where the victims have been receiving abuse from local youths. It’s unacceptable and I have been keeping in touch with them to make sure they’re ok, monitor the problem and see what I can do to help.
To do this job you need to be open minded, diligent, understanding and remain impartial when people are talking to you – I’ve dealt with victims who have told me one thing, and then gone to see the offender and it turns out the story is completely the other way around. You can’t judge people and you have to be strong willed as some people you deal with are nice, and others not so much.
I love my job and wouldn’t change it. When I initially joined the force, I started as a police officer but I didn’t feel the role was right for me. It was a bit daunting to go into a PCSO role knowing I hadn’t taken to being a PC as I had expected to , but nine years later I’m happy where I am and still loving every day.
We are currently recruiting for PCSOs. If you’re keen to make a difference in the communities of Bedfordshire, click here for more information about the role and how to apply. Applications close on 26 February.