Problem-solving is key to reducing anti-social behaviour in our communities and someone who knows that better than most is Braintree police community support officer Lorraine Keating.
Lorraine was named PCSO Of The Year 2021 for her commitment to protecting vulnerable victims and for ‘going above and beyond her role to ensure the public are given the best possible service from Essex Police’.
Lorraine has been instrumental in helping to solve a variety of anti-social issues around the town, using her extensive and local knowledge and connections to do so.
Recently, she helped to secure an indefinite criminal behaviour order against a woman who was targeting elderly and vulnerable people for money.
As always, Lorraine prioritised the victims, interviewing each one, making sure they were cared for and kept updated throughout the investigation. But she also initially tried to engage with the woman and signpost her to the support available to help divert her behaviour.
Families of some of the victims contacted us afterwards to express their thanks and appreciation to Lorraine for looking out for their elderly relatives.
But sometimes solutions can be rather more simple. Lorraine says it’s a case of finding the cause of the problem rather than dealing with the result.
“Recently, we had an issue in Braintree town centre with local drug-takers hanging around. I found out where they were getting their methadone prescriptions from. “Normally they get their prescriptions daily but, because of the pandemic, they’d been given a week’s worth at a time. This was causing a lot of problems, so I arranged with the pharmacy to start issuing them with daily prescriptions again.”
She keeps in regular contact with shop managers, businesses and head teachers so that if a particular issue is identified it can be dealt with swiftly.
“We can set up an operation to tackle it or increase patrols in a certain area. A few months ago, there was a spate of tool thefts, so I arranged some extra patrols and we held tool-marking sessions around the district. “I’ve got a lot of contacts and work with a lot of partner organisations to solve issues. We have regular meetings with Eastlight Community Homes and housing officers to review cases and discuss ways we can all work together to solve problems. “This has proved to be really advantageous and, working together with Braintree Council environmental health officers, the council has been able to apply for closure notices at a couple of addresses in the town to prevent public nuisance and disorder.”
Lorraine’s extensive knowledge of people and places often proves useful to her CID colleagues, too.
“I know where the CCTV cameras are and what they cover, so we can get hold of footage quickly if an incident occurs in the area.“
But as well as working on varied ways of tackling anti-social behaviour in Braintree, Lorraine also finds time to support vulnerable people. She will liaise with Braintree Council’s Housing Options team to try to find accommodation for homeless people and signposts them to other organisations which can also provide help.
“The job is non-stop but I love it. It’s so varied. "But it's a team effort. It’s not an award you can win on your own. My colleagues on the community policing team have shown amazing support and we’re so lucky to have such a good team. “We love to help people. It’s a nice feeling – it’s what we do the job for.”
Inspector Jenna Mirrington-French, of Braintree Community Policing Team, says Lorraine’s passion for community policing and her ability to really listen to the needs and concerns of the communities she works with ensures she provides the best possible service to the public.
“Lorraine works tirelessly to identify and support the most vulnerable members of our communities, working with multiple agencies to get them the support and help they need. “Lorraine is a real asset to our community policing team and the local community and we are all proud that she was awarded PCSO of the Year.”
In the year to 30 November 2021, anti-social behaviour incidents across the Braintree district dropped by 363, or 10.8%, compared with the previous 12 months.
Reporting anti-social behaviour
If you're experiencing anti-social behaviour in your community, we want you to report it to us so that we can take action.
Do talk to members of the Braintree Community Policing Team if you have issues which are concerning you.
You can also report incidents of anti-social behaviour on our website via Live Chat – open from 7am-11pm every day – or by completing an online report or by ringing 101.
If you’ve been a victim of anti-social behaviour, or any crime, and are feeling mentally impacted by it, contact Victim Support on 0808 1689 111.