THE work carried out by police community support officers has been given a vote of confidence.
Inspector Mohammed Nawaz, who heads the area’s neighbourhood policing team, described PCSOs as extremely valuable members of the team.
Criticised for having only limited powers, PCSOs are seen as the bobbies on the beat the public have been clamouring for.
They were first introduced eight years ago to work alongside police officers, providing a visible and reassuring presence on the streets and tackling menace of anti-social behaviour. They have the power to deal with minor offences, conduct follow-up calls and house-to-house inquiries, guard crime scenes and provide crime prevention advice.
Inspector Nawaz said they are there to build on existing relationships with the local communities and address the issues that impact on residents’ quality of life.
PCSO Brian Mardell is the local bobby for Rastrick which he has covered since he first became a PCSO six years ago. “I thoroughly enjoy working in Rastrick and I have got to know a lot of people. I have a good working relationship with the schools and Pennine Housing and I try and help where I can particularly with the parking issues at schools,” he said.
He used to be a driver for First Bus but decided to have a change and applied to be a PC. “Unfortunately I failed the exam but only by 3 per cent but passed to be a PCSO so I jumped at the chance. I love being out in the community and helping people when they need it.”
Another well-known face is PCSO Ian Robinson who covers the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward. He has been a PCSO for seven years having come straight from college after doing a short spell working in construction. “I originally wanted to be a PC but when I was offered the role of a PCSO I saw it as a way of getting into the police force and gain an insight into what police work really was,” he said.
PCSO Robinson has only been covering his patch for two years and has previously worked in Elland, Halifax and was involved in an anti-social behaviour mobile unit for a short period of time.
Other PCSOs include James Boakes for Rastrick and Jane Saxelby-Wyatt and Amy White for Brighouse.