My Name is Naomi Burkart and I am a Police Community Support Officer for Northamptonshire Police.
My career prior to joining Northamptonshire Police was working for the Prison Service in Wellingborough for three years.
While working for the Prison Service I saw an opportunity to join Northamptonshire Police as a Police Community Support Officer. My reasons for joining were to experience the varied opportunities which the role would bring and to engage in a positive way with the local community.
I was attracted to the role of PCSO as I believed it would equip me with the unique skills to deal with and resolve community issues. I also wanted to assist Police Officers and allow policing to be more visible and accessible to members of the public.
Finally I hoped I would be able to provide specialist advice to help reduce victims of crime and make a real difference to my community.
I have been a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) for ten and half years based at Campbell Square Police Station and covering the central part of Northampton.
My first five years were spent working mostly on a residential area. The work encompassed dealing with a wide variety of community organisations and with people from diverse backgrounds. I enjoyed attending a range of meetings and developing local initiatives, learning a lot in the process and expanding my knowledge and skills within the community.
My last five years have been spent working in the busy Town Centre of Northampton where a different set of skills have been required. Retail links have been developed and maintained and issues such as begging and street drinking have required a different problem solving approach. I have continued to enjoy fostering relationships with key partner agencies and tackling issues in a multi-disciplinary way. Community Policing requires a real team approach and it is this aspect of the role which is both challenging and rewarding.
During the past ten years I have developed many skills including being trained as a tutor, expanding my knowledge of problem solving techniques and organising and running large community events. I am also proud to have previously been awarded Northamptonshire Police PCSO of the Year.
Typical Day in the life of a PCSO
My day usually starts with a team briefing led by my Sergeant. During this meeting we discuss issues and actions taken on the previous day and highlight emerging trends and jobs which need to be actioned that day. It is a chance to catch up on local intelligence and review the jobs for the day. The tasks given can range from follow up visits to victims of low level crime or anti-social behaviour, to meetings with local councillors or shop managers.
Once the tasked visits are completed, I might do some work on the longer term problems, which have been identified by the community as their local priority. These can range from tackling persistent beggars and street drinkers to arranging community safety visits on vulnerable business premises.
Visiting and liaising with key partner agencies is a major part of my role and I will pop in and meet with the Council and multi-agency Anti-Social Behaviour Unit to discuss ongoing and potential forthcoming cases. I might then go and visit an address which has been the subject of anti-social behaviour and take a statement to add to the evidence which is being gathered to tackle the issue. I will then speak to the Borough CCTV manager to check whether their cameras cover this location and ask them to let me know via a retail link radio if they witness any issues.
Walking through the Town I may see a male drinking from an opened can of alcohol and will then challenge him and remove the can under the current local Designated Public Places Order. I always use my communication skills to stop this from becoming confrontational and the drinker often shrugs his shoulders and allows me to take the can to dispose of it. I regularly meet up with a Police Constable who works on my team and we discuss local issues and how we are best placed to help each other tackle problems with our own knowledge and powers. I may then patrol the local shopping centre for an hour speaking to security managers and providing reassurance to the local shoppers.
Variety in my role can come from any quarter and I could be suddenly called to deal with youths cycling through the crowded pavements and putting themselves and pedestrians at risk. I manage to stop and speak to one of the youths who I know and I explain the risks and dangers of her actions. I also enquire as to why she is not at school and discover that she should actually be in school at this time. A phone call and a short time later her mother comes to pick her up and I follow this up with the school to check that there are no longer term issues which are contributing to her truancy. I speak to our Early Intervention Team to see if this is an issue which they can follow up on and I then reflect on how a simple case of anti-social behaviour has led to a wider issue being discovered and preventative active action taken.
My afternoon is spent at a meeting with a local charity to see what support they might offer to a local street drinker who is causing issues due to an alcohol problem, which in turn exacerbates his mental health issues. We discuss some outreach work and whether some skills training might assist this individual. We come up with a plan which I share via a report form with my colleagues and I then hope that I have set in motion a longer term solution to reduce repeated calls to the Police and Ambulance Control Rooms and also helped improve the health and welfare of this individual.
My day finishes with some patrol work around the town centre, being visible and proactively targeting any identified ‘hot spot’ areas. I speak to a market trader who just wants to discuss the latest politics from America and then a security guard from a local store who wants advice on obtaining a retail link radio.
Finally I return to the office to write up a report on my earlier meetings and to update the logs record my alcohol seizures for the day.
It is a job where I can really make a difference and I drive home very tired after a long but fulfilling day at work.
My aspiration for the future within policing is to continue as a Community Support Officer for Northamptonshire Police. I view this role as fundamental in providing the link between local Communities and Policing in general. If I could choose just three goals for the future, it would be:
To work hard in keeping and expanding working relationships within my Community, which I have built up over the last ten years.
To work smarter with partner agencies, in order to solve long term problems, meeting the needs of our communities and to reduce demand on other parts of the organisation.
Look to carry on the support network in building Public Confidence within Northamptonshire Police through partnership working.