‘Officers are a credit to Sidmouth’ says police Sergeant

‘Civilians masquerading as police’ jibe irks PS Andy Turner

SIDMOUTH’S police sergeant has hailed his dedicated neighbourhood team following a town patrol jibe from a Herald reader.

PS Andy Turner has defended the town’s volunteer Special Constabulary and Police Community Support Officers (PCSO’s)- saying they have detected and prevented untold damage and crime and supported victims.

In a letter to the editor last week, Neil Chippett referred to “civilians masquerading as police” as an “embarrassment.”

“I stand by all my officers,” said PS Turner, “I do not consider a single one of them an embarrassment, but please don’t take my word for it- ask the people they help.

“I’m a little unsure of what Mr Chippett meant by the comment. Is he referring to the Special Constabulary made up of dedicated civilian volunteers who patrol our streets for free, with all the powers of a police officer? Who, in the last year have routinely patrolled Sidmouth nearly every Saturday night, made many arrests, seized huge quantities of alcohol from underage drinkers and prevented untold damage and crime.

“Or is he referring to the three PCSO’s, namely Alex Powe, Jay Pepper and Steve Blanchford Cox, who patrol our streets everyday, detecting crimes by using their common sense, investigation skills and vast local knowledge.

Most Read

“They too have detained a number of offenders for criminal offences, issued fixed penalty notices, played a lead role in all of our anti-social behaviour order applications, visited victims of crime, and provided concise crime prevention advice.

“They patrol alone on late evenings, seizing everything from drugs and alcohol, on a regular basis.

“In the past four years I’ve received no end of praise for these officers.

“This year’s FolkWeek was policed on much reduced numbers, with only two additional police officers being drafted in each evening, and four extra on the weekends.

“The daytime was covered by four PCSO’s, special constables and only one police officer.

“It may be worth noting that even with a reduced presence of uniformed police officers, crime fell during FolkWeek from 34 reported offences in 2009 to 12 in 2010.”