More Bobbies to hit the beat

By Ian Dipple Friday 07 March 2014 Updated: 07/03 09:47

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Buy photos » Ready to hit the beat - (back row) Kelvin James, Michael Smith, Aaron Jenkins and Paul Davies, (front row) Helen Popadopoullos, Pat Roberts and Harriet Lloyd. (s)

THESE are the latest recruits in the fight against crime in Redditch.

A total of seven Police Community Support Officers began patrolling the streets from this week. They will be working in communities across the borough talking and working with residents to help tackle a range of issues including anti-social behaviour, as well as providing reassurance.

Among the new PCSOs is Harriet Lloyd who previously worked for West Mercia Police in the control room but decided to swap the desk for the beat.

She said she wanted to be a friendly face for the community as well as helping gather intelligence, organise events and tackle anti-social behaviour.

“It got to the point where I wanted to talk to people face to face in the community rather than pick up the phone,” she said.

The seven new additions mean Redditch now has 21 dedicated PCSOs as well as safer neighbourhood police officers working across seven local policing areas across the borough.

District Insp Ian Joseph said PSCOs not only provided reassurance but were invaluable in gathering information and there had been examples of knowledge they had gained being used to trace missing people quickly or solve serious crimes.

“This is good news for Redditch because we had been carrying some vacancies and they are now filled,” he said.

“Community consultation is key, if we don’t know what makes communities tick then we can’t react to their concerns.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore has made using PCSOs a key plank of his plan to combat crime. The Standard reported in February how West Mercia Police has used £24.7million of savings to keep both police and PCSO jobs at their current levels.

Last year PCSOs were granted additional powers including searching for drugs, dealing with truancy issues, helping with traffic obstruction offences and issuing fixed penalty notices for a range of alcohol related offence.

Although they do not have the power of arrest they can detain people.

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