THAMES Valley Police officers deserve our respect.
Sounds odd coming from a lad in his 20s, maybe, but it’s something I believe.
I have been out on operations with the police on a few occasions, on drug raids and more recently to arrest those involved with the Bletchley disorder.
However, this was my first chance to observe day-to-day police life as I joined MP Iain Stewart and his senior caseworker Jinmi Macaulay on a ride-along with officers Lee Smith and Matt Craker.
As we squeezed into the back of the panda car for an early evening patrol what struck me was how open both officers were in answering the dozens of questions we fired at them.
But I shouldn’t have been so shocked. Police officers are people who generally live in the community – people we can relate to and feel able to approach.
As we started our patrol we travelled through some of the areas known to officers as potential ‘hot-spots’ where groups of youths or repeat offenders could potentially be lurking and I was amazed at the level of knowledge the officers had not only of their patch but the people they saw walking the streets.
They had the ability to scour the pavements, listen and respond to two police radios and questions from three intrepid visitors.
We next visited the home of a woman who had been burgled. Thieves had smashed a back window and gained entry into her bungalow and stolen items with a lot of sentimental value.
As we sat in stunned silence the two officers worked meticulously as they went through the motions of interviewing the victim and, as one took down details in his notebook, the other carried out door-to-door checks, collected a glass sample and informed the victim what she could and couldn’t touch before Scenes of Crime Officers had attended.
We stood silently while Lee carried out his interview with the victim detailing what had been taken and how the burglars had potentially got in, all for his crime report.
The woman was clearly distressed but Lee did a great job in reassuring her that firstly the robbers were extremely unlikely to come back, telling her she was more likely to win the lottery, and secondly they would do all they could to get her possessions back.
Iain said: “That one incident was a great example of the good team operations that are carried out in the force. It is so valuable to me in my position to see work on the frontline and to see the passion that these guys clearly had for the job.
“They raised a number of key issues and spoke of some ideas that I can now try and address in parliament. Some might be viable, others not so but without doing this I would have never known.
“The police have their own roles but work in conjunction with a number of other partners. I was very impressed with the amount of work they do off their own backs with people in the community to keep youths out of trouble.”
The police are there to protect us and we never know when we will need them. So if you see them on the beat in your community show them a bit of respect. They have earned it.