A SOUTH MARSTON PCSO and the Swindon town centre Neighbourhood Policing Team have been honoured at a special awards ceremony.

Work carried out by volunteers, police officers and PCSOs across Wiltshire and Swindon was recognised at the first Neighbourhood Policing Awards presentation in Devizes.

The awards were set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson.

Mr Macpherson had been due to address the invited audience and present the awards, but he is recovering in the Royal United Hospital in Bath after suffering a heart attack a week ago while on an official engagement in Trowbridge.

In his absence, the awards were presented by the Chief Constable Pat Geenty.

Mr Geenty was a member of the judging panel together with Wiltshire Council leader Jane Scott, Swindon Council chief executive Gavin Jones, High Sheriff Peter Addington and Mr Macpherson.

Kieran Kilgallen, chief executive of the Office of the PCC, told the gathering: “If Angus was here today I am sure he would be telling you just what an important part volunteers play within the communities of Wiltshire and Swindon.

“Volunteering is something which Angus holds dear and being a volunteer himself, in his very limited spare time, he knows how fulfilling such work can be.

“Angus has been quite clear since being elected to office that volunteers have a huge role to play in helping him achieve the priorities he set out in his Police and Crime Plan.

“This is the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week and charities and organisations across the country are taking the opportunity to thank the army of people who, by willingly giving their time, truly make a difference.”

Mr Geenty expressed his delight that Mr Macpherson was making progress in hospital and praised the Commissioner for his initiative in setting up the awards and said they shared a commitment to harness the potential that volunteers have to offer.

PCSO Juliet Evans, for South Marston and Highworth, won the PCSO of the year award.

Nominated by South Marston Parish Council, the judging panel felt that Juliet was a worthy winner of this award. She is supportive of local initiatives, for example Community Speed Watch, accompanying the team on many occasions, even those outside her normal working hours.

Juliet holds meetings regularly with the communities to which residents are invited to discuss any problems or difficulties they may have, particularly those concerning potential criminal activity or anti-social behaviour.

She gives her support to the Swindon Salamander Programme for Down’s Syndrome children.

Often patrolling her areas on foot or on her bicycle, she has been known to choose to walk from Highworth to South Marston, ending at Gablecross Police Station, a distance of some five miles.

The Neighbourhood Policing Team of the Year award went to Swindon Town Centre, Broadgreen NPT, who were nominated by Broad Street Area Community Council.

The award was in recognition of the support and encouragement given by the local team to the community as a whole.

The team have shown that with time, understanding and patience, getting to know people and different groups, and by encouraging integration and breaking down barriers, they have helped to make the area a better place to be.

They have a good understanding of community and people, and engage with all members of the community; they are always willing to take part in community events and projects with both older and younger residents.

As a result, crime and disorder in the area has been noticeably reduced.