A familiar face returns to Watford’s Safer Neighbourhood Team
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A Watford PCSO who left the organisation last year for pastures new has returned to ‘the job he loves’.
PCSO Steve Shaw – one of the constabulary’s first-ever Police Community Support Officers back in 2003 – was part of the Watford Safer Neighbourhood Team for nearly two decades.
But in 2022, he made the decision to hang up his uniform and take on a new role as Town Centre Ranger with the Watford BID. He spent 16 months there before, following a conversation with the CSP Chief Inspector, he decided to return to his beloved PCSO role.
Steve, who first began working for the constabulary as a jailer in the year 2000, said: “I’ve had a cracking first few weeks; I’m so glad to be back. It was great to try something new with the BID, and the team there are absolutely fantastic people. But when the opportunity came up to return to the police, I couldn’t turn it down.
“I need to work a specific set of hours due to personal circumstances so I was worried it wouldn’t work at first, but both my Chief Inspector and SNT Inspector have been really supportive and did everything possible to accommodate me.
“Being a PCSO is the perfect job for me because I love talking to people and doing the daily foot patrols as part of my shift. One of the incidents that sticks in my mind from the last two decades was when I was first on scene to a man who was self-harming with a knife in John Lewis. Sadly, he had suffered extensive chest injuries.
“Additional units arrived, and we managed to detain the man for his own safety and that of the public before he was airlifted to a London hospital. We later found out that it had been a cry for help with his mental health, but thankfully he made a full recovery.”
On his return last month, Steve was reinstated with his original collar number – 6504 – and is wearing the epaulettes he was given when he started 20 years ago.
In his first week back, he found himself responding alongside his intervention colleagues to a report of a high-value retail theft in the Atria. With support from the town’s CCTV operators a foot chase ensued, and five teenagers aged between 15 and 18 were promptly arrested. The clothing, worth nearly £2,000, was recovered and returned to the store.
“After my time at the BID, I’m not used to running while wearing heavy boots and body armour, so I was aching the next day! My colleagues on shift did an excellent job and five people were arrested in connection with the theft. Some people think Watford is an easy target for criminals, but this incident proved otherwise. It was great to be part of such a good result,” said Steve, who lives locally.
Watford’s Chief Inspector Andy Wiseman said: “Steve is the epitome of what a PCSO should be; he’s knowledgeable, approachable and a real asset to our community policing team. It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome him back to our Watford family and the people of Central ward are very lucky to have him.”