Plenty of people want to have a cuppa with a copper, so it seems from this inaugural social event organised by the police and held in the Cherry Orchard, Port Erin, last Thursday.
The offer of the cuppa is a deliberately informal way of engaging with members of the public and a new initiative introduced by the south’s new Inspector Jed Bibby.
‘We are trying to target particularly older people,’ he said. ‘The issues raised were parking and dog fouling, there was a little bit of antisocial behaviour, youths congregating and then making them [older people] feel unsafe ... It was about meeting people you do not generally speak to. The things we chatted about nine out of 10 people would not dream of coming into the police station to chat about, the more you talk to them, the more things come out.’
Inspector Bibby and his police officers are engaging with the community in various ways. ‘Part of that is to task the staff to go into care homes etc and touch base, we want to hear from them. It’s about talking about issues and also we want them to know where to come, they are not wanting to bother police about someone ball kicking on the side of their house, but we want to do something about it.’
He said this focus on engaging with the older generation fits in with one of the aims of a new south initiative, The Hub Club, at Thie Rosien. ‘It’s about breaking down barriers, the perception of [people wearing] hoodies,’ he said.
Last Friday, the inspector welcomed Baroness Helen Newlove of Warrington – the UK government’s victims’ commissioner – to the station. Her husband, Garry, was murdered by a gang of youths he confronted when they were vandalising their car in 2007. Inspector Bibby explained that he outlined to her the events and initiatives run largely by volunteers in the south and she was ‘really, really positive’ about what she heard.
PICTURE: JOHN MADDRELL JM130502 (2)