With all the excitement that was building around the opening ceremony on Friday, Cheshire Police left Winsford headquarters to start their new life - for two and a half weeks at least - in the metropolitan city of London. Blog posts are now actively running until 13th August on the police and Upbeat websites where the public are being given a real taste of policing life, both in Cheshire and from the Olympics. These provide an insight into the many incidents that the officers are getting involved in, including the fun elements that come with policing such a large sporting event.
Inspector Stewart Sheer, who has been a Cheshire officer now for 25 years, gained some international experience by policing in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the organised crime investigation team. He has been deployed to the Olympic Village and Olympic Park and reported from the Olympic Village on opening ceremony night, "It is amazing. Itwas hard to believe that this was waste ground a few years ago and now it feels like a cosmopolitan city. There was a real buzz - talking to the athletes and having my photo taken a thousand times - the British bobby was very popular. As for the fireworks at the end of the night - wow! My wife said "did you see them?" I said: "see them I felt them, that was some display above our heads!"
The blogs also focus on those who are working extra duties in Cheshire. This includes Neil Gitton, 39, who works as a Specials Inspector within Cheshire and who joined the Special Constabulary in May 2005. By day, he works as a Product Development Manager for a food company whilst on weekends, he polices for the rural Frodsham neighbourhood.
When asked about policing during the national effort, as Cheshire officers are deployed to the Olympics, he comments "as an officer, we are sometimes asked to step outside of our normal routine for various reasons. This is something we all expect, as a full time officer or as a Special constabulary officer. We actually like it. There are many planned operations and tasks that will still go ahead as normal, while our regular colleagues are away and this is possible because of the high level of training that we have. We have been and will continue to maintain high visibility patrols to reassure the public that there will continue to be plenty of police officers to keep them safe."
Neil wanted to "test the waters" before deciding upon a career in policing and this gave him the chance to explore being a Special alongside performing his daily job. He has the support of his employer, if he has to be released at short notice for court and operational reasons. The skills he has developed as a police officer are transferred into his daily job and he expresses one of his career highs - when his team were invited to the House of Commons by the local MP in recognition of their policing services in Frodsham. This was a significant occasion as it was Tony Blair′s last Prime Minister′s Questions and Sarah′s Law was announced.
Neil remarks that anti social behaviour issues in Frodsham have reduced considerably over the last year which is due in part to good police engagement with the public. Brought up in Tattenhall, Neil has a personal knowledge of living in the area. "Knowing your community is not so much a skill, but it helps massively as people can relate to you more easily if you are familiar with the neighbourhood."
The final Olympics Bronze competition will be running from 6th − 10th August on cheshire.police.uk, and entries will be received until 4pm. For more information on becoming a Special for Cheshire Constabulary, please refer to cheshire.police.uk. If you would like to follow the blog posts, please go to www.cheshire.police.uk/get-involved/olympic-blog.aspx or www.upbeat.uk.com/16-20.