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How we connect with our communities – Police Community Support Officers

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How we connect with our communities – Police Community Support Officers

Building strong and lasting relationships with our local communities is the key to successful policing and there are many ways that North Yorkshire Police connects with its local residents.

Holding local drop-in’s and surgeries, so people can meet their local policing team and raise any issues or concerns, officers attending local meetings and stopping to say hello when patrolling, all help to build trust and reassurance.

Connecting with each other isn’t just confined to face-to-face contact either. Local residents can also keep up to date 24/7 with all the latest news, appeals and crime prevention advice by following any of our numerous Twitter and Facebook pages, run by our local teams.

Accessibility and visibility is central to the role of our Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

PCSOs are a vital part of the policing family and are very often referred to as the eyes and ears of the police. They are an essential link to the local communities we serve; through building relationships, tackling local issues, dealing with anti-social behaviour, engaging with different groups of people and generally supporting police work.

Good communication skills and a genuine interest in helping other people is vital for the role and in return, PCSOs receive job satisfaction like no other – the feeling of making a positive difference to someone’s life or local community.

Visibility is a key part of a PCSOs job, which means patrolling and being approachable and accessible to members of the public.

Good problem solving skills and an open mind are also needed, as PCSOs come across lots of different types of situations and the ability to see things from different perspectives and engage with people is key.

To give an insight into the role, we’ve asked PCSO Justin Piercy to write a short blog about his role as part of the York North team and the relationship’s he has built with York People First, a local self-advocacy group which supports adults with learning disabilities.

PCSO Justin Piercy

“I’ve been a PCSO with North Yorkshire Police for 11 years now and I am based in the York North Team at Athena House Police Station.

“My role is quite different from the traditional Police Constable role. I don’t have the power of arrest, but I hold different designated powers, such as the power to detain for certain offences and I can use those powers in the most constructive way I feel necessary, as I go about my day-to-day  job.

“A typical day for me would be coming on shift and being briefed on the latest intelligence in my patch and then receiving my deployments for the day. This might be follow up visits to residents who have reported incidents of anti-social behaviour, or patrolling my local area to provide that visibility and reassurance to the local community.

“A key part of my job, and one of the most rewarding elements, is building good, strong relationships with groups of people who traditionally may have found it hard to make contact with the police and my specific focus is on adults with learning and communication difficulties and disabilities.

“People with communication and learning challenges are very sadly sometimes targeted by criminals, and can be befriended and used by people who want to take advantage of their vulnerability. It can be difficult for them to reach out and get help from the police, so my role is to break down some of those barriers and build their confidence in the police, so if they should ever need help or assistance they know what to do and where to turn.

“One of the groups in my area that I work closely with is York People First, based on Clifton Moor. They are a fantastic organisation which supports adults with vulnerabilities and helps them through their day-to-day lives. Through spending time with the group, speaking and getting to know the members,  I have learnt a lot about what life can be like as an adult with learning challenges and sadly, it can be incredibly tough. Many of the group have been targeted with hate – both verbally and physically, or targeted by criminals and had money stolen from them, due to the fact they have disabilities.

“That’s why, working alongside the group, we developed the North Yorkshire Police We Care scheme, which is designed to provide a sense of safety and independence for those within our community who may be more vulnerable and enables us, the police,  to provide them with a better level of service that is more tailored to their specific needs.

“The scheme is in its infancy and is only operating on a pilot basis in the York area at the moment, but already we have had 50 people sign up. I’m currently reaching out to more people and organisations across York and I’m determined to see that number grow.

“Anything the police can do to help people with learning difficulties feel safer is well worthwhile and I’m really proud to be involved in making that happen.”

To find out more about the We Care scheme, visit the North Yorkshire Police website here



Last modified: August 6, 2018