Have police van, will travel

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Police Staff Ben Carslake (left) and PC Daniel Smith with their van at Jempsons

Visitors to Jempsons supermarket last Monday may have been surprised to see a large police van parked outside the doors.

No, there hadn’t been a ram raid or even a spate of shop lifting. This was the initiative of two individual officers to make the police presence more visible in towns and villages where the “bobby on the beat” was rarely seen.

PC Daniel Smith and police staff Ben Carslake had been allowed the use of a van that was otherwise surplus to requirements, and had fitted it out to be suitable for enquiries, interviews, taking statements or just private conversations with members of the public.

For a trial period of three months they will be seen at various locations in our area – including again in Rye – getting to know anyone who would like to talk to them either to discuss local problems that might concern the police or just to have a chat.

Whether or not this roving police presence will be able to continue at the end of the trial period will depend on how successful the experiment is seen to have been and success will probably be judged on how much the interaction with local communities is seen to be assisting in crime prevention and control. So this really is a case of use it or lose it. Make use of these officers and their van when you see them and they could become a regular and welcome sight with, maybe, more officers employed in this way in the future.

This scheme was promoted not by the Police and Crime Commissioner nor by senior management but by two junior officers who wanted to provide an answer to their concern, and that of many of their colleagues, that with changes in local policing, officers were no longer as available and approachable since the time when Rye and other areas had their own PCSOs regularly seen on the streets.

The initiative of these two officers deserves to be rewarded with success and the community as a whole will undoubtedly feel the benefit if it is.

Image Credits: John Minter.

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