East Devon PCSOs celebrated 20 years after force first trialled role in the district

East Devon Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) have been celebrated – 20 years after the district was chosen to trial the role.  

Darren England, Hayley Widger and Michael McGauley, who serve Honiton, Axminster and Seaton respectively, were handed commemorative medals.

The event was in recognition and celebration of the two-decade anniversary of PCSOs being introduced in Devon and Cornwall Police.

It was in East Devon in January 2003 that ten PCSOs started in post as part of a pilot scheme – the first to be employed in the whole force area.

Chief Inspector John Shuttleworth attended the event in Honiton along with Rural East Devon Inspector Phil Gray.

Ch Insp Shuttleworth, who covers the Exeter, East and Mid Devon local policing area, said: “They have all served their communities with distinction and enthusiasm and they are valued members of our team.

“These medals are in recognition and thanks on behalf of the local policing teams and on behalf of the communities across East Devon, where these officers serve.

“They make a huge contribution to building really strong bonds of trust and confidence with local people.

“They are hugely influential in how we connect to local people and I am so proud to have them in our team.” 

PCSO England, who covers Honiton, has lived and worked in the town since he was a teenager.

He previously worked as a baker before deciding to sign up as a PCSO.

His brother-in-law worked as a Devon and Cornwall Police officer offered him some advice on joining the ranks.

PCSO England said: “I have met many people during my time with the force and still enjoy being able to help our community.”

A force spokesperson added: “PCSOs are part of the visible face of policing in our neighbourhoods and can be found patrolling towns and villages to help local residents and visitors and build relations. PCSOs can offer crime prevention advice and a reassuring presence.”

The medals were paid for and distributed by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall.

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