Haverhill’s police force has been bolstered with the addition of four new police community support officers (PCSOs).
PCSOs Mark Isaac and Sophie Mitchell started work on Monday (January 28), covering the Chalkstone Estate and Samuel Ward Academy and Clare, Cavendish and Stoke by Clare respectively.
They were joined today (Thursday, January 31) by two further arrivals, with PCSOs Kayla Packman and Lorna Chapman covering the Parkway Estate and the Clements Estate.
Haverhill Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) Sgt Sarah Bartley said the town force is not at its strongest since 2007.
The four new PCSOs will boost the SNT which previously had just one officer covering Haverhill and two covering St Edmundsbury Rural South.
PCSO Les Scott is no longer along in being a visible presence in the town, while PCSOs Ryan Wilson and Clare Fuller have got a helping hand to cover the villages.
A further batch of summer recruits will add another PCSO to Haverhill in March, bringing the SNT up to full strength with five PCSOs.
PCSO Isaac, 23, from Halstead, had worked as a security guard at Tesco Great Notley.
“I’d always wanted to join the force ever since I was little, so this was a great opportunity for me,” he said.
“It’s a nice busy town here as Halstead is very quiet, so I’m looking forward to it.”
PCSO Mitchell, 21, from Sudbury, was a sales manager for Greggs in her hometown.
“I was engaging and interacting with members of the public through retail and this is a different angle to that, now I can’t wait to get cracking,” she said.
The SNT now consists of four PCSOs and three police constables covering Haverhill and three PCSOs and two PCs for the villages, all headed by Sgt Bartley and Insp Peter Ferrie.
Sgt Bartley said the new arrivals were to fill long standing vacancies and had not been created recently.
“It will make a big difference because the main thing for a PCSO is to be a high visibility patrol so it will allow us to have more people out on the streets and allow the public to be reassured that we have more officers out,” she said.
“We will also be able to direct more resources towards SNT priorities.
“This is the most staff we’ve had on the SNT since it started in 2007.”
Inspector Peter Ferrie exclaimed: “I’m absolutely delighted to have them on board.
“We will be able to do more community work now and be more proactive and responsive for the people of Haverhill.
“They will have a great impact in addressing the SNT priorities as we only had PCSO Les Scott before.
“He will now be more visible in the town centre with him not having to cover the estates too.
“It will improve public confidence in the police and also our community engagement.
“We’ll definitely have more police out on the beat now and less officers getting stuck in the station.”
For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, January 31) Echo.