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It’s a privilege to work in a rural community – a blog by PCSO Ruth Pearson

Last modified: 26 September 2018 at 11:23am

Continuing our series of blogs on how we connect with our communities and the vital role of local Police Community Support Officers, this month we hear from PCSO Ruth Pearson who patrols the rural communities of Embsay and Eastby.

Ruth talks about the differences between being a PCSO in a rural and urban location and how she supports her local community.

PCSO Ruth Pearson

I’ve been a Police Community Support Officer based in Skipton for 13 and a half years now and the time has flown by, which is a good indication of how much I enjoy the job!

I realise how lucky I am to have this job and I see it is a privilege to work in the communities I do.

There really is no such thing as a typical day and the spectrum of emotions you can go through in one shift is a roller-coaster ride at times. One minute I’m talking with a group of 5-year-olds, next minute I’m doing traffic control at a fatal car crash. One minute I could be trying to find a place of safety for a young person and the next I’m having a brew with the local knit and natter group.

Even though the job title and the basics are the same, my role varies from that of my PCSO colleagues who work in city centres, such as York. For example, I’m not sure they spend as much time as we do being sent to clear sheep from the road or running surgeries at the local Auction Mart. However, that said, they have more shop theft and alcohol related anti-social behaviour jobs to deal with.

Being rural based has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, I personally love working in the Dales and surrounding countryside, so being out and about in them every day is a personal bonus for me. Work-wise, I think it gives us the opportunity to build relationships with smaller, more isloated communities. I cover the villages of Embsay and Eastby and have worked hard over the years to get myself known in the area. Now I can pop in for a coffee at the local school or the hairdressers, it’s just being about and visible on the streets to offer folk reassurance. We don’t just have to be about when somethings is wrong, we are there to support our communities 24/7.

Having less staff nearby than my city centre colleagues means we do rely on residents volunteering their time a bit more, for example with the help of local residents I set up the first Community Speed Watch Scheme in Craven. Run entirely by a core team of volunteers, it’s aimed at increasing road safety within Embsay and Eastby and it’s had a really positive effect.

We also see a lot of rural crime in relation to quad bike thefts, so we rely on the farming community to spread the word about any suspect persons or vehicles in the area, as this means we have more eyes and ears out looking.

Some folk we deal with live at the back of beyond, so having us take the time to attend and speak with them shows them that they do matter and we do take their concerns seriously.

There are so many aspects of the job I enjoy, but the main one is making a difference in people’s lives. People ring us for help and I do the best I can to assist them. If I come away from an address and the resident is reassured and feels safer, then my work is done.

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