Shropshire Star

Innovation in streamlining police work earns PCSO Darren a top national award

A Shropshire Police Community Support Officer has been named one of the best in Britain.

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Darren Barnett

Darren Barnett, who works in South Shropshire, won the ‘Innovation’ award at a national awards ceremony commemorating 20 years of PCSOs.

He was one of more than 300 PCSOs nominated for recognition from all forces in England and Wales across eight categories.

Unison, the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs’ Council hosted the awards to celebrate those who have gone over and above in their roles. They say PCSOs represent the cornerstone of neighbourhood policing.

Darren was nominated by Inspector Damien Kelly, who said the PCSO had found ways to reduce the number of steps it takes to carry out a task, so that officers are less pressured, and the public gets the quality policing service they rightfully deserve.

Darren developed a process using ‘mail merge’ to reduce the time it takes creating statements of evidence, offence reports and other associated paperwork around speeding operations.

In addition he designed a way of auto-populating letters containing key priority policing messages to 50+ parishes, as well as developing a system to quicken vehicle inspections.

Darren was also awarded a Chief Superintendent's commendation for his actions during an incident where a man was injured by a dog.

The officer said he was “overcome with emotion” when his name was read out.

“Up until that point I hadn’t appreciated how important the nomination was. It was only when I sat there as one of 300 nominations out of 9,000 PCSOs it really hit home.

“To be in front of that standard of quality of peers and all those senior figures was an incredible feeling.”

“Coming from an office job into a role where you’re never quite sure what might happen is an incredible feeling and confidence builder.

“Day to day tasks feel like a series of little rewards as you complete them, and there’s an incredible sense of satisfaction when you help change someone’s life for the better, or even save their life.”

Inspector Kelly said: “As an organisation we aim to harness the talent in the individuals that we have working with us.

“A way to do this is by empowering people to come up with ways to make processes easier by allowing them to test solutions to problems that they find on the ground.

“Not only that, but when they do find innovative ways to make processes easier, we reward them for their good work.

“Darren has proven to be an innovative problem solver in his area of business and has been brilliantly rewarded for it."

“I and the rest of the team are so very proud of what he has achieved and I hope that we continue to harness his talent for the benefit of the organisation, the people working in it and the public that we serve.”

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