It was the winter of 2017 and one of Lincolnshire’s longest serving PCSOs, Dave Bunker, was seen by thousands going the extra mile by carrying the pensioner's heavy shopping bags when she got disorientated and couldn't find the bus stop in Skegness.
A colleague at the time, Inspector Colin Haigh, captured the moment on camera and posted it on Twitter where it was shared by more than 20,000 people.
Insp Haigh tweeted: "Community Policing at its best, @PCSO_Bunker helping a lady who's lost her way and can't find the bus stop."
He added: "Policing is not just crime fighting and we spend a lot of time protecting the most vulnerable.
"Actions like this are performed by officers every day in Lincolnshire and the rest of the country, they just aren't captured very often."
However, PCSO Bunker was modest about his act of kindness. “A lot of PCSOs do this sort of thing every day, all over the country,” he said.
‘It’s our bread and butter work.’
Lincolnshire Police is currently recruiting officers to continue this work and PCSO Bunker, who has been a familiar figure walking the beat on the coast for 16 years, is delighted.
"When I started there were around 140 PCSOs across the county but that was reduced to 85,” he said. "It’s good to see Lincolnshire Police is recruiting again.”
The campaign to attract more PCSOs is part of the wider police recruitment in the county.
New figures show that 200 police officers have been recruited as part of the Government’s pledge to put 20,000 more officers on the streets nationwide by March 2023.
This brings the total number of officers in the county up to 1,220.
Lincolnshire Police are recruiting for around 15 PCSO posts to be placed in Spalding, Horncastle, Louth, Mablethorpe, Grantham and
Successful candidates in West Lindsey would cover the areas of Gainsborough, Market Rasen and Saxilby.
According to the job application, candidates are required to have experience working as part of a team and experience of administration, record keeping, and inputting and researching of data on computer systems.
However, this doesn’t mean applicants cannot come from a wide variety of backgrounds. PCSO Bunker, 55, had a variety of jobs before joining Lincolnshire Police, including retail manager and screen print supervisor.
"The reason I have stayed a PCSO for 16 years is the other things I have done were just ‘jobs’,” he explained. “As a PCSO we are part of the police family and we really can make a difference.
”As part of a Neighbourhood Policing Team, we are the specialist problem solvers in the community, working with partner agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour and offering reassurance to the public.
"Over the years our powers have increased –we still don’t make arrests but we can now detain someone at the scene of an incident.
"The role remains the same, though – to engage with the community to build trust and confidence through safer neighbourhoods.”
Salary/grade: £20,706 rising to £23,406 plus shift allowances.Contract: PermanentHours: Full time 37 hours per weekClosing date: 5pm on Friday, May 13, 2022
For details, visit https://www.lincs.police.uk.