15 Aug Latest weapon against crime
Police unveil their latest weapon against crime – bobbies on skateboards.
As a PCSO trying to demonstrate street cred, he’s off to a bit of a wobbly start.
The uniform trousers sit far too high to reveal boxer shorts, and he wears a helmet instead of an ultra-cool baseball cap.
Hampshire Police’s latest initiative in the fight against crime is to pack beat officers off to join youths at a skate ramp
But Police Community Support Officer Stephen Dean is hoping that his skateboarding skills will help him ride it out.
The officer is taking part in a police force’s latest initiative in the fight against crime.
Uniformed officers attend skateboarding workshops aimed at 12 to 16-year-olds, where they mix with the youngsters and get tuition from expert skaters.
Hampshire Police tries to ensure at least one of a team of four constables, three community support officers and one sergeant are there for each session, held twice a week.
PCSO Dean, 22, in particular, is keen to get on board. “It’s great for breaking down barriers,” he said.
“It lets the youngsters see a more human side to the police. The kids see us down there skateboarding and see us as cool, rather than something they have to fear.”
The sessions take place at the skate park in Lee-on-Solent near Gosport, and attract up to 30 youngsters.
Watched by an instructor, the more proficient skaters tear it up on the ramps. The police are still with the novices on the promenade.
Hampshire Police spokesman Nicola Collins said the scheme, a joint initiative with Gosport Borough Council, “lets police talk to young people in a positive situation”.
She added that officers attend only if there is no more serious police business to deal with.
“If they get called up to go to another incident they will go off and deal with it rather than staying there and having fun skateboarding.”
A similar scheme in which police organised other activities for children in the area apparently slashed crime by 28 per cent last year.
And unsurprisingly, according to skateboard instructor Geoff Else, it’s a real laugh for everyone.
The 23-year-old from Winchester, who earns £40 an hour at the sessions, said: “The kids love seeing the police on skateboards. I think it’s a mixture of the kids finding it really funny seeing a policeman on a skateboard but also having a lot of respect for them for having a go.”
PCSO Dean, meanwhile, says he is improving all the time – though he always opts for a crash helmet.
“I can properly ride the board now, whereas before I just fell off the whole time.
“All the kids recognise me now in the street and say hello, so I think it’s given me more kudos.”
Source: Daily Mail | 15 August 2007
Source: The Sun | 15 August 2007