PCSOs will soon be familiar faces at hospitals across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion as a successful scheme is rolled out across Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli has been a trial site for the scheme, with PCSO Gary Payne having been based there for the past 14 months. During this time he has dealt with reports of missing people, minor RTCs on the hospital grounds and welfare concerns, among other incidents.
There is now a PCSO presence at Withybush and Bro Cerwen hospitals, Glangwili and Bronglais following positive feedback from staff and patients.
The rationale behind basing PCSOs at hospitals across Hywel Dda University Health Board came from data reviews, which show hospitals are regularly in the top 10 call locations to the police.
The aim is to reassure patients, staff and visitors, to safeguard vulnerable people within the community who visit the hospital, to provide a quicker response from an officer on the grounds, and reduce the number of calls made from the premises.
Speaking about his role, PCSO Gary Payne said: “I conduct high visibility patrols in key areas and at key times, such as during visiting hours and staff changeover periods. I patrol both inside and outside the hospital building, and the response is very positive. Patients tell me they are pleased to see me walking along the corridor, and staff have been very welcoming too.
“The main thing is to present a professional but calm image so patients and visitors are aware there is no need to worry about my presence.
“The main benefit I have seen is a quicker reaction to incidents because I am on site. In the first two days of being here there was a report of a patient having altered a prescription to get more medication than he had been prescribed. I heard the call come in, made my way to the bus stop and detained the person within 11 minutes.”
Previously, PCSO Payne worked as a sergeant and patrolled areas of Llanelli on a neighbourhood policing team.
“It’s very different working here,” he said. “When I was on the NPT I would see the same people at the same time and get to know them. I’d describe the hospital community as being transient. You might see someone one day and then never again, or see them every day for six months because they are visiting a long-term patient.
“I have to keep up-to-date with who is coming into the hospital and get to know their situations.”
As a result of the trial, PCSOs will now be based at Glangwili, Bronglais and Withybush hospitals, with PCSO Payne remaining at Prince Philip Hospital.
Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Superintendent Claire Parmenter said: “An analysis of calls made to Dyfed-Powys Police indicated that a high volume are received from hospitals. To provide extra support to our health partners, increase our visibility and to address the calls, we decided to trial a PCSO with a permanent base at Prince Philip Hospital. This has been deemed a success, and this increased service will now be provided at our other hospitals within Hywel Dda University Health Board.”
Phil Lloyd, Security and Case Manager for Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are pleased to work in partnership with Dyfed-Powys Police on the PCSOs at hospitals scheme across the Hywel Dda area.
“Following a trial last year at Prince Philip Hospital, in Llanelli, the benefits of working together have led to this scheme which will provide a useful deterrent and allow local communities to interact with the police providing reassurance and general increased safety.
“This excellent example of collaborative working will provide better protection for patients, staff and the public.”
To contact your local officer, ask at the hospital reception. To report a non-urgent crime, or for advice, call 101. Dial 999 in an emergency.