On the beat with the face of policing

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ARMED with a notebook and a smile, PCSO Keith Chittock steps out on his beat in Lakenheath.

PCSO Chittock spent 19 years working as a police officer before realising that his place was out on the streets helping the public.

He said: “Being a policeman is more the enforcement side of the law.

“Our role as PCSOs is the high visibility community engagement.”

PSCOs are often perceived as lacking power, so I spent a morning with PCSO Chittock to find out what a typical day holds.

Our activities were reminiscent of a traditional village bobby.

We visited the parish council offices, mother and toddler group and businesses along the high street.

Everywhere we went people had a smile and a wave for PCSO Chittock.

He explained that this engagement gave PCSOs a unique insight into the communities they served, allowing them not only to address crime but to pursue effective preventative schemes.

His current project to stop people parking where they block the view of a zebra crossing is typical.

He has previously been involved in bringing a skate park to Bury St Edmunds to reduce anti-social behaviour and shopping for the elderly during bad weather.

PCSO Chittock said: “We need to know what is happening – people are reluctant to phone the police but if they see a face around they can approach them.

“It’s not that the police are out of touch it’s just that I’m here eight hours a day.”