PCSO Laura is an excellent neighbour
Sam EmanuelShe is a neighbour anyone would want and has worked tirelessly to cut crime and improve community relations in her area.Sam Emanuel
She is a neighbour anyone would want and has worked tirelessly to cut crime and improve community relations in her area.
Laura Munro-Oakley joined the police as a PCSO in her home town of Aylsham three years ago, and since then she has slashed anti-social behaviour and set up a residents' group so people can work together to discuss and solve neighbourhood problems.
The 34-year-old, who lives in the town with her husband Steve and their two daughters, who are five and eight, said she had worked in office jobs for several years but had wanted to get into a career where she could help people.
She said: 'I wasn't really benefitting anybody by shuffling pieces of paper around so I wanted to do something that would help the community, and was very lucky to get a job as a PCSO in Aylsham, as I live locally.'
Her familiarity with the problems in the area meant she was able to act on them, and when the results of a survey showed that people were concerned about anti-social behaviour, she helped to organise the formation of the Hainford Residents' Group and put on a community barbecue last summer so people living in the area could meet others living nearby.
She added: 'There are a lot of retired elderly and vulnerable people who live around Aylsham, and if any of them are feeling threatened by antisocial behaviour, I can go round and see them and reassure them. I might be on the evening shift and tell them I will walk up and down past their house a few times, for example.
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'Last year we sent out community feedback forms as part of a drive to establish the issues locally, and found out that people were worried about teenagers being rowdy, throwing stones and riding mini-motos on a neighbouring field.
'I looked at the number of reports of anti-social behaviour we had received, and realised there was a problem, so we did a door-knocking exercise to find out more, and I also did a leaflet drop.
'We spoke to the teenagers who had been causing the problems, and they complained they had nothing to do, and we went to see their parents too, and did a few referrals to the Youth Inclusion Support Panel, which is designed to stop children from entering the criminal justice system. The parents had not been aware of the problems, and it meant the kids stopped using the mini-motos.
'We also spoke to residents to form a residents' group, which is really well attended and meets regularly to talk about issues.'
We are looking for nominations of people who work hard for their community to feature in our Good Neighbour Campaign. If you know someone who might be suitable, call Sam Emanuel on 01603 772438 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be pleased to hear from you.