PCSOs’ work is an ‘invaluable tool’

Stamford police community support officer David Vines
Stamford police community support officer David Vines
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This week reporter Alex Moore spoke to Stamford police community support officer David Vines to find out his thoughts on his role.

PCSO David Vines joined the Stamford team in 2003 and was one of the first people to take on the role in Lincolnshire.

David, who was born in Stamford and is also a retained firefighter in the town, said he joined the force for the benefit of both himself and his community.

He added: “I wanted to do something for myself and for the town where I live.

“I’m very fortunate to have this position. I used to be a supervisor at a factory but I wanted to develop myself personally.

“It’s made a big difference for me. I’ve got involved in the community.”

One of the key issues PCSOs were brought in to tackle was antisocial behaviour.

David dedicated many hours to reducing the problem in Stamford and helped come up with a number of initiatives to tackle it.

He said: “The job is about listening to members of the public and working with other agencies.

“A fundamental part of tackling antisocial behaviour was Teenzone. I was instrumental in opening that.

“We used to have major antisocial behaviour issues in Green Lane. But working with shopkeepers and schools we managed to reduce that.”

A large part of a PCSO’s job also involves working with youngsters at an early age.

David said: “It’s about getting into the schools and educating children as well. I like to think I have given guidance and made a bit of an impact. It’s really rewarding to see. The kids respond well.”

Growing up in Stamford and becoming a familiar face in the town has served David well in his police role.

He added: “Being a born and bred Stamfordian gets that respect around the town. People like to see a familiar face. It gives them someone to confide in as well - not just in police issues.

“I’ve been a retained firefighter for eight years now, which has also developed me as a person. They are both roles with responsibility. Younger recruits look up to you and hold you in great esteem.”

As one of the county’s first PCSOs, David is ideally placed to judge the value of the role.

He said: “PCSOs are a great addition to the force. They support the regular officers and the community. They are an invaluable tool to reassure the community out and about.

“I would encourage people to engage with us at all times, even if it’s just to say good afternoon.”

Part of that engagement is the quarterly neighbourhood policing panel. Residents can raise issues with police, which are then turned into neighbourhood priorities for three month periods.

The next meeting is on October 8 at the town hall in St Mary’s Hill. There will be an open forum from 6.30pm.

David said: “We have a very strong team in Stamford and I would encourage people to come along.”