'Just doing my job' says PCSO winner
PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 May 2014
Avon and Somerset police
A WORLE PCSO has scooped a Police Pride award after offering daily support which encouraged an elderly victim to come forward with evidence - leading the culprit to confess in court and repay £1,000.
Nicola Mitchell, who has been a PCSO for two years, received the accolade from Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens.
Joseph Bennett, of Coleridge Road, Weston, was handed a 26-week suspended jail term on April 23 at Bristol Crown Court after stealing more than £1,000 from the 82-year-old victim.
Bennett, aged 42, has also been electronically tagged and given a six-month curfew.
PCSO Mitchell said: “People in the community knew Joseph’s background and knew he was befriending the victim.
“He went into hospital last April and when he came out he noticed some money had come out of his account. Members of the community then contacted us. My colleague and I went to see him and he told us what had happened.
“His health had deteriorated and he was really terrified of him (Bennett).
“It took months for him to be interviewed about the incident, I would visit him daily to show I was there for him. He had my number and I told him to call me if he needed me.”
Bennett admitted to stealing money from the victim’s home and bank account while he was ill in hospital.
PCSO Mitchell said: “The victim was deeply upset and distressed by what had happened. It took me a long time to build his confidence and trust in order for us to pursue this case.
“Bennett’s actions have had an enormous impact on the victim, not only financially but emotionally and physically. He spent a long time afraid to leave his home.”
Regarding her award PCSO Mitchell said: “I was really honoured to get it. It was a big surprise and I felt really proud.
“I was just doing my job and this case was about people in the community looking after each other.”
Her Inspector, Sharon Bennett, said: “I am really proud of Nicola. She has been the true voice for this victim, putting him above all else.
“She continues to work with him, helping to re-build his confidence, and has gone far and above what is expected of her as a PCSO, working with him in her own time off-duty. She has visited him in hospital and cares for him as he has no family.
“This kind of stuff often goes unnoticed. We do not do it for the glory, we do it because it is the right thing to do and we care about the community.”
If you are worried about a vulnerable person call 101 or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.