Introduced on 27th July 2009 by Leader of the Council Jason Zadrozny, Community Protection Officers (CPOs) continue their work to keep residents safe, support vulnerable victims and patrol Ashfield’s parks, estates and town centres.
Councillor Jason Zadrozny said: “I’m proud that since I introduced the service a decade ago, the team has dealt with at least 25,000 Community Safety issues per officer in that time.
“The service has adapted to new challenges in crime over the last ten years. Our officers do vital work across the district and help some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
The team began life in Police stations across the district but in 2016 they co-located with the police at the Community Safety HUB in Kirkby. The move enabled efficient information sharing and greater resilience in responding to residents’ needs and issues.
As well as safeguarding vulnerable residents, CPOs have confiscated thousands of cans and bottles of alcohol from young people throughout the district. This not only keeps them safe but prevents alcohol related anti-social behaviour and provides a safe and peaceful environment for tenants and residents.
Councillor Zadrozny continued: “The team patrol and engage with residents, using all of its powers and tools alongside Police colleagues to ensure our residents are not just safe but also feel safe.”
“We are committed to fighting anti-social behaviour and environmental crime across the district to make Ashfield a safe place to live, work and visit.”
Chris Parkes has worked as the Community Protection Team Leader for ten years and is proud of the work the team has done to make Ashfield safer. He said: “We have an excellent mixed team of males and females, younger and older officers who work hard to understand issues and resolve problems in the community.
“Engagement is extremely important to us so it’s vital that we listen to residents about their problems.
“Every day in this role is different and you never really know what is around the corner. We work closely with the Police to ensure we are efficient and effective when it comes to responding to incidents.
“I’m proud of how far the team has come in the last decade and the positive impact we have had on the lives of individuals within the community.”
In a recent case, Ashfield’s Community Protection Team made a big difference on Sutton’s Welbeck Street.
Welbeck Street residents Andrea and George Reeves reflect on the positive impact the Community Protection Team had on the difficult situation.
They said: “Since the problems were highlighted to Council, they soon realised just what a massive antisocial impact the behaviour of certain individuals were having on the rest of the Welbeck Street residents. The CPOs increased their presence and it made a massive impact on behaviour.
“The continual presence of the CPOs and Police closed down the drug dealing, noise levels were reduced and the size of gangs on the street diminished considerably. We were also able to sleep without constant shouting and people running up and down at all hours day and night.
“The CPOs constantly patrolled the area providing support to the residents where needed. The increased patrols and presence combined with neighbourhood intelligence made a huge impact on our lives.”