It was winter 2017 and one of Lincolnshire’s longest-serving PCSOs, Dave Bunker, was seen by thousands going the extra mile carrying the pensioner’s heavy shopping bags when she became disoriented and couldn’t find the bus stop in Skegness.
A colleague at the time, Inspector Colin Haigh, captured the moment on camera and posted it to Twitter where it was shared by more than 20,000 people.
Inspector Haigh tweeted: “Community policing at its best, @PCSO_Bunker helping lady who got lost and can’t find the bus stop.”
He added: “Police are not just crime fighting and we spend a lot of time protecting the most vulnerable.
“Actions like this are carried out by officers every day in Lincolnshire and across the country they just don’t get caught very often.”
However, PCSO Bunker was modest about his act of kindness. “A lot of PCSOs do this stuff every day, all over the country,” he said.
“It’s our bread and butter job.”
Lincolnshire Police are now recruiting officers to continue this work and the PCSO Bunker, who is a familiar figure who has walked the coast for 16 years, is delighted.
“When I started, there were about 140 PCSOs countywide, but that’s been reduced to 85,” he said. “Good to see Lincolnshire Police are recruiting again.”
The campaign to attract more PCSOs is part of broader police recruitment in the county.
New figures show that 200 police officers have been recruited as part of the government’s pledge to put 20,000 more police on the country’s streets by March 2023.
This brings the total number of officers in the county to 1,220.
Lincolnshire Police are recruiting for around 15 PCSO positions to be placed in Spalding, Horncastle, Louth, Mablethorpe, Grantham and
Successful candidates at West Lindsey would cover the Gainsborough, Market Rasen and Saxilby areas.
According to the job application, candidates must have experience working as part of a team and experience in administration, record keeping, data entry and research on computer systems.
However, that doesn’t mean applicants can’t come from a wide variety of backgrounds. PCSO Bunker, 55, held a variety of jobs before joining Lincolnshire Police, including retail manager and screen printing supervisor.
“The reason I stayed PCSO for 16 years was that the other things I did were just ‘jobs,'” he explained. “As PCSO, we are part of the police family and we can really make a difference.
“As part of a Neighborhood Policing Team, we are the problem solvers in the community, working with partner agencies to tackle anti-social behavior and reassure the public.
“Over the years our powers have increased – we still don’t make arrests, but we can now detain someone at the scene of an incident.
“The role remains the same, however – engaging with the community to build trust through safer neighborhoods.”
Salary/grade: £20,706 rising to £23,406 plus shift allowances.