Four new PCSOs have gone on duty at Bury St Edmunds police station, including the first paid for by the town council.
All the police community support officers are new to policing and bring skills from past jobs or qualifications. In line with Suffolk Police’s new policy, they all have a ‘single point of contact’ (SPOC) role which often highlights that.
Emily Howell, 23, is the PCSO funded by Bury Town Council and comes to the force after doing a three year degree course on forensic sciences.
“I thought it brought me to a more front-line police role,” she said. “Because the town council have funded me I get to patrol more than the others,
“SPOC roles give them more responsibility in those areas, but they patrol less.”
She will work with town councillors in areas of concern they have.
Jessy Whurr, 19, was a business development manager and said: “I always wanted to work in the police and thought it was a good route in to progress as a long-term career.”
Her SPOC is youth and young people.
Ryan Chivers, 24, worked in an NHS mental health unit so his SPOC is, not surprisingly, mental health. He said: “I just like engaging with people and helping people. I’m happy in a community-based role.”
Michelle Bixley, 28, had nearly 11 years in retail. “I thought it was time for a change, now they are recruiting,” she said. “It’s something I always wanted to do.”
Her SPOC is vulnerable communities, including the elderly, immigrants and travellers.
Andrew Speed, chairman of Bury St Edmunds Town Council said:”Having obtained unanimous approval from the council in March, I am delighted that PCSO Emily Howell has now commenced work in support of the town’s residents.
“Over the coming months Emily will familiarise with all of the town’s wards working in partnership with town councillors and residents alike.
“We hope that Emily will be joined by a further PCSO in April. This initiative is a key element of the town council adding direct value for its residents.
Tim Passmore, Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner, said: “I’m very pleased the town council has taken this initiative,
“This is very much in addition to the resources allocated by the Chief Constable for keeping the whole of Bury safe. It’s a wonderful example of the community helping itself.”