PolicingTV’s Bernard Rix recently met Suffolk Constabulary Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) Jo Whiting and Mark Ellis in Bury St Edmunds, in roles that are funded by the local Town Council.
In and around the grounds of St Edmundsbury Cathedral in the heart of the town, they explain more about the key service they provide to the local population, as well a a little about their backgrounds and careers to date.
Jo: “I started working for the police when I was sixteen… Before this position, I spent seventeen years as a Senior Coroner’s Officer, assisting HM Coroner for Suffolk with high profile inquest cases, including Myra Hindley. She died at the West Suffolk Hospital here, having been in High Point Prison”. Mark: “I’ve been a PCSO for four and a half years, started… two days after I retired after thirty one years as a police officer!
I was a police constable for thirty one years, all in West Suffolk, and prior to that for eighteen months, I was a Special Constable!”
“I believe I stayed in the best rank, being a uniformed Police Constable, at the forefront of policing, dealing face to face with the community, in what I can only describe as being the best town in the country. Why would anyone give that up?!”.
“Anyone that’s retiring [as a police officer] now, so they started in the late 1980s, early 1990s,… when, as a police officer, you were encouraged to go out on foot… this is going back to that era. For want of a better expression, the Bobby on the Beat…
To me, that’s what I joined policing for”. “We get to know the community, we have time to engage with the community, to build their trust. We are the eyes and the ears for the police on the ground”.
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