On the beat with a Haverfordwest police officer

Western Telegraph: POLICE HQ: Haverfordwest police station

PICTURE: Western Telegraph (3136102) POLICE HQ: Haverfordwest police station PICTURE: Western Telegraph (3136102)

WHAT does a day in the life of a Haverfordwest police officer entail? That was exactly what I went to find out on Saturday, December 21 when I was invited to join PC 767 Geraldine Guest on the beat.

PC Guest is part of the Haverfordwest Neighbourhood Policing Team, having transferred to Dyfed Powys Police from West Midlands Police 10 years ago.

She came on duty at 2pm, and after checking what went on in the shift before, we headed straight out to patrol the streets of Haverfordwest.

PC Guest explained that the team is currently involved in a number of anti social behaviour initiatives in town, including working alongside licensed premises and the street pastors, which ensure the safety of late night revellers.

She showed me an example of a ‘Discretion to Leave’ ticket, which are issued to people under section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. They are intended for individuals who are acting in an anti social way, but whose behaviour may not warrant an arrest. The ticket orders the person to leave the premises and not to return to the designated area within 24 hours, or face further action.

PC Guest was also out reinforcing the shoplifting campaign, which has been running in Pembrokeshire since the start of December. She said: “It’s predominately about high visibility patrol. It reassures the public that we’re out here. It’s a busy period and there are lots of people carrying lots of cash on them.”

One thing that immediately struck me as we walked through town was the response of the public. PC Guest was often stopped by people who simply wanted to say hello. One lady, who was a previous victim of crime, even stopped PC Guest to introduce her new grandchild.

It was a similar experience when we bumped into a group of youths outside the multi storey car park, who seemed to have a healthy respect for the officer.

PC Guest said: “I’ve always found that people have been very positive towards the police here in Pembrokeshire. We’ve always been engaging and hope the fact that we’re out on patrol encourages people to want to stop and speak to us.”

When we arrived back to the station, I asked PC Guest what was the most rewarding part of her job. She said: “For me it has to be front line policing, because it’s the first point of contact for any member of the public, and that initial contact with a uniformed officer is probably the most important.”

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