WITH her reassuring manner and friendly smile, she’s brought old-fashioned community policing back to one of Sheffield’s most troubled neighbourhoods.
Residents say Maggie Rozmus’s efforts as a Police Community Support Officer have made them feel more secure and led to her being crowned Sheffield PCSO of the Year by her bosses at South Yorkshire Police.
The 32-year-old patrols in Tinsley, where she uses her Polish background to help people from her home country living in Sheffield, who can call her on a telephone helpline.
Maggie, who came to the UK six years ago and who has a masters degree in marketing management and a degree in engineering, said: “I’m recognisable across Sheffield because of the Polish helpline but my work in Tinsley is the most important part of what I do.
“I have a particular strength with the eastern Europeans in Tinsley because I can understand their languages.”
Maggie said she believes that her role - which echoes that of a community bobby in years gone by - is important to improve relations between the police and communities and to help make people feel safer around their neighbourhood.
“It took up to a year to become accepted around the area and now I am able to help with loads of incidents that police officers wouldn’t have time to attend. Because they know me, people also come up to me on the street to discuss particular issues.”
Maggie said a major part of her work involves follow-up house-to-house work after incidents, such as theft from vehicles, to provide advice. Getting to know everyone means that, if there is any incident in the neighbourhood, she can use her local knowledge to help police officers track down people involved more easily.
When she started, Maggie said her relationship with some of the community ‘wasn’t great’.
“The Slovaks and most other eastern Europeans didn’t really trust the police. Before I was in the force, I didn’t have much interest in the police either. Very slowly, they opened up to me more than any others because I can understand their languages.”
Maggie said that, in her job, ‘every day is different’ but she enjoys the challenge. The public can make appointments to see her or she will go on the beat whenever she has free time.
Maggie was ‘really pleased’ to be crowned PCSO of the Year.
She added: “It’s a great job, being able to help other people. When I first came here, I took a course in health and social care and worked with asylum seekers. I then worked for the police as a civilian in the community safety department before becoming a PCSO two years ago. This job seemed a natural thing to do.”
Praise for good old-fashioned policing
MAGGIE Rozmus has been praised for her work by residents
Stephen Pendlebury, chairman of Tinsley Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “Having PCSOs like Maggie here gives us a sense of security. Before we had any PCSOs, you would rarely see a police officer on patrol and there were problems with drugs. This is like old fashioned-style policing which makes residents feel safer and is a deterrent.”
Maggie and her colleagues help to warn residents of problems, such as when a distraction burglar pretending to be from Sheffield Homes was calling at houses.
Sheffield Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods Coun Harry Harpham said Maggie’s role highlights the importance of PCSOs and why the ruling Labour group are set to guarantee the £300,000 annual subsidy they pay police to cover 10 of Sheffield’s 136 PCSOs’ wages for next year.