Officers building trust with the community

Stamford police community support officer Meela O'Neil
Stamford police community support officer Meela O'Neil

This week reporter Alex Moore spoke to Stamford police community support officer Meela O’Neill to see what her job involves.

PCSO Meela O’Neill joined the Stamford team five years ago after two years’ working in Cambridge.

She used to visit the area as a child and was drawn back by the friendly atmosphere and people.

Since moving to the town she has tried to build up a relationship between the police and the public.

“When I walk through the town, people come up and say ‘Hi’ to me. Young people walk up and have a friendly chat with us,” she said.

“Having the level of trust that people feel they can come and speak to us is very important.”

PCSO O’Neill, who is 31, signed up for the job with the ultimate aim of becoming a police officer.

She added: “I wanted to see how things worked in this sort of environment.

“I have stayed as a PCSO for so long because it is such a rewarding job. You do see the difference that you make.”

The PCSO role in 
Stamford involves dealing with a range of different crimes. In an average week, PCSO O’Neill deals with 
low-level criminal damage, anti-social behaviour prevention and spot checks around the town.

She also sends out many of the Lincs Alert messages which warn of crime trends.

This, coupled with high-visibility patrols, often acts as a deterrent to would-be criminals. And spot-checks often yield results.

PSCO O’Neill said: “From one spot check of two men we identified two suspects, one of whom was arrested.

“The idea is to see something that seems out of place and identify it.”

The life of a PCSO does have its lighter sides. Members of the Stamford team regularly hold events with young people in the town with the aim of building relationships and trust.

PCSO O’Neill added: “We have taken them paintballing and organised a day of football.”

This year PCSO O’Neill hopes to achieve her ultimate aim of becoming a police officer and has her final interview in the coming months.