Island Life Magazine Ltd February/March 2007 - Page 36

life - FEATURE Rural policing Most of us are aware of the role a police officer has in most towns across the country, but being a police officer out in the sticks has its own unique challenges, we spend time with Sgt. Jason Bolwell to find out how different the job really is! Sgt. Jason Bolwell Rural policing plays a significant part in Island life but what can we expect from our Safer Neighbourhood Teams. The daily news is full of front line policing, high profile cases fill the evening bulletins only to be reinforced with tabloids the next day. Living on an Island we would be forgiven for thinking we are unimportant or lack the presence of crime, well sadly there is crime as with all communities. Enquiry officer Mandy Gould with the Mobile Police Office. 36 However rural policing fortunately plays a pro-active role in keeping it to a minimum and maintains an excellent balance between the response team and community involvement. Rural policing means there are more police on the beat and assigned to local neighbourhood areas. This doesn’t mean to say the force is not able to respond to a major incident; on the contrary the force has an excellent targeted patrol team ready to deal with all situations from road traffic Picture: Left to right- Martin Jones, Wildlife officer Nic Massey, Enquiry officer Mandy Gould, Beat officer Tim Campany. accidents to public order. Rural policing involves working closer with the community and engaging them in identifying what their main problems and issues are. Hopefully as the community gets to know who their local officers are they will once again trust their police to improve the quality of community life. When an issue is identified by the community the local Neighbourhood Team will tackle them head on. Jason Bolwell is the RuralSaferNeighbourhoodSergeant and is based at Yarmouth. He explains “The kind of work we are called to deal with can be extremely varied. One day you could be called to break up a disturbance, the next we could be herding a cow down a main road.” Sergeant Bolwell is an Islander who has policed in London says “Working in a rural community is as challenging as working in the big city you just deal with different issues.” Currently he is trying to set up Country Watch with PCSO Iles this is focused on helping farms with animal and equipment security; they are working towards combating theft and damage in a community which feels under policed and vulnerable . One point that becomes very apparent with rural policing is that there is great effort to ensure information is relayed to the public and two way communications is always encouraged. Many youths have complete disregard for the environment taking motorcycles and 4 x 4 vehicles along bridleways and across private land causing damage to property and livestock. Communication and education with these groups is the first step for a community officer before having to resort to enforcement. A lot of the areas that rural officers police are owned by the National Trust or Forestry Commission and are quite inaccessible without the correct vehicles and training. Pc Nick Massey is a specialized wildlife officer who is trained to deal with the welfare of wild and domestic animals. He has a good Island Life - www.isleofwight.net