'It’s been my life for the last 19 years' - one of Sunderland's first Police Community Support Officers urges others to follow in his footsteps

One of Sunderland’s very first Police Community Support Officers is urging others to follow in his footsteps.

By Kevin Clark
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:54 am

The role of a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) was created as part of the Police Reform Act in July 2002.

Mick Casey was one of just 13 in Northumbria’s first intake in December 2003 – the force has more than 180 now.

He has worked closely with organisations including the Salvation Army, Poplar House and the YMCA in Sunderland.

“It’s been my life for the last 19 years,” said Mick.

“Over time, you build up that trust and respect, you recognise people and they recognise you. In a way, as a PCSO, it doesn’t really feel like coming to work – which I’m incredibly lucky for."

PCSOs were able to build relationships with the public that regular police officers sometimes did not have the time to do, said Mick: “It’s community policing at its best – there’s a greater demand on police officers now and sometimes it can be hard for them to stop and get to know people all the time.

“If I deal with someone and they come away thinking ‘Oh, Mick was nice’ – then I’ve done my little bit to help build people’s trust in Northumbria Police as a whole.”

Chief Constable Winton Keenen QPM (left) with PCSO Mick Casey

“There’s no point going into anything blinkered – I’ve dealt with a lot of people who’ve had hard knocks in life, or who are in a tough spot, but you go into each situation with the want to help them, to support them. I’ve found if you are good to people they are usually good to you back.”PCSO Casey continued:

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The role was a new starter for Mick, now 55, even if he was initially unsure what the role would involve: “Nobody really knew what the role would entail as it was brand new,” he said.

“But I’d spent the last 20 years as a joiner, saw the opportunity and thought ‘let’s give it a try’.”

He met with Chief Constable Winton Keenen QPM who thanked him personally for his service.

Chief Constable Keenen said: “It was a real pleasure to catch-up with PCSO Casey and I would like to extend my thanks to all of our PCSOs across the Force who play a crucial role alongside our front-line officers, staff and volunteers, in protecting the public and ensuring the North East continues to be a safe place to live, work and visit.

“Over the last two decades, the role of a PCSO has changed somewhat – but what has remained constant is their passion, enthusiasm and desire to deliver an outstanding service to our communities.”

"Nearly 20 years on, the role is as important as ever – with Northumbria Police currently having more than 180 PCSOs playing a key role across the North East.

The Force’s current recruitment drive is in full swing and Mick is urging others to sign up.

“I think it’s a role where you get what you put into it,” he said.

"Don’t be shy, be willing to get stuck in, talk to people and there’s no doubt you will reap the rewards.

“Anyone interested in pursuing a career with Northumbria Police is encouraged to visit careers.northumbria.police.uk and see the wide range of opportunities available.