A burglary reduction officer who worked tirelessly to secure hundreds of victims’ homes against repeat break-ins has been shortlisted for a national award.
It comes after PCSO Amardeep Sandhu supported 400 residents to claim free Ring doorbells, CCTV cameras, motion sensor lighting and locks for windows and doors as part of the Safer Streets project in the Arboretum, Radford and The Park around this time last year.
Since then, not one of those homes has been targeted by burglars again. And in the wider surrounding area as a whole, burglary fell by a total of 43% after the project.
It was PCSO Sandhu’s drive and determination to ensure so many local burglary victims could get access to the free security devices, while funding lasted, that led to him being shortlisted for an accolade as part of a national campaign to celebrate 20 years of PCSOs.
The safety devices were being provided after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire was successful in securing £432,000 of funding through the Home Office’s Safer Streets fund in July 2021 – but the money had to be spent by March 2022.
PCSO Sandhu was drafted into the project as a burglary reduction officer with around five months to go and used his knowledge of the area - gained over 15 years as a PCSO and two years previously a Special Constable - to pound the streets and engage with people to make them aware of the limited-time offer. He then helped them have their security needs assessed and arranged installations.
“It is great to be shortlisted for the award. I was just happy to be part of that success. Because of my worth ethic, I’m quite target-driven so I wanted to make sure they are not only getting the right security to make them safe but that we are also on target to spend the Safer Streets money.
“I strongly believe in Safer Streets and what it delivers for people so I worked really hard to get things done before the funding ended.
“For me, Safer Streets means we are putting residents first. We are putting something back into the community where they have been affected by crime and antisocial behaviour over the years.
“It has a massive effect on communities. Not one of the houses that had target hardening has had a burglary so the idea that we are making properties safer and making people feel safe is justified.
“Most burglars are opportunists. They try handles and look for easy access. When they walk down the street and see target hardening in place it puts them off – it’s not an easy grab.”
Assistant Chief Constable Gary Hooks, head of Local Policing for Nottinghamshire Police, paid tribute to PCSO Sandhu’s determination and wished him luck at the awards, which are being held by Unison in London on 12 January 2023.
He is nominated in the ‘partnership’ category for his work with the community and partner agencies.
ACC Hooks said: “PCSO Sandhu’s work has had a significant impact upon our communities through the countless interactions he has had with community members and partners. He has assessed hundreds of properties, providing support and guidance on crime prevention and contributed to a partnership project result of a 43% reduction in burglary offences overall in those areas where the work was carried out.
“His work is exceptional, and I wish him the very best wishes in securing the winner’s place during the ceremony.”
Similar schemes offering free security measures are currently being offered in a number of areas across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner was successful in securing a further £3 million of Safer Streets funding in July this year.
Bestwood and Top Valley are among the areas that will benefit from target hardening in the latest round of funding.
The funding is also paying for a range of projects in public places, including CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras, Safe Space schemes in shops, gating orders, street lighting and diversionary activities for young people to prevent antisocial behaviour.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “Experiencing a burglary is heart-breaking. Not only do people lose valuable and sentimental items, it can make them feel their home has been violated, to the point that they no longer feel comfortable in their own home.
“That’s why the outstanding work that PCSO Sandhu has done has made a real difference to communities. The fact that none of the 400 homes have had repeat break-ins after we supplied target hardening means burglars have been stopped in their tracks, because they are no longer an easy target.
“PCSO Sandhu is a real champion of Safer Streets and what we are trying to achieve in communities across Nottinghamshire and I wish him the best of luck at the awards.”
Councillor Neghat Khan, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion at Nottingham City Council, said: “PCSO Sandhu worked closely with the Council’s Burglary Reduction Officer, Julian Best, through the Safer Streets programme and his contribution helped Nottingham residents ensure their properties were more secure. We congratulate him on his nomination and wish him the best of luck in these awards.”
Posted on Wednesday 14th December 2022