THE Correspondent, Mossley’s three town councillors and Mossley Hollins High School’s headteacher joined officers on a Friday night community police patrol.
It provided a fascinating insight into local policing, as editor Tony Bugby reports.
The public’s perception of policing today is that it is rare to see a bobby on the beat.
That is not the case in Mossley where PC Martin Dench along with PCSOs Karl Lisic and Wayne Gordon have a high profile and are very much at the heart of their patch that extends from Mossley into neighbouring Carrbrook.
And it was evident when joining them on patrol how they have integrated themselves into the community and how well-known they have become.
While cruising the area with the officers it was also clear to see how they engage with the public, especially youngsters who congregate during the evenings on the streets. They know many by name.
That is why Cllr Stephen Homer, who accompanied us, continues to work tirelessly to improve facilities at Top Mossley Park to give children somewhere else to congregate.
Cllr Homer persuaded Tameside Council not to lock the park gates at 7pm during the summer but extend that to 10pm and, as a result, police noticed a marked decrease in reports of anti-social behaviour in the town.
He is now lobbying for floodlights and a shelter so youngsters can still go there after dark during winter.
The officers also engage heavily with Stuart Marshall, Mossley Hollins’ headteacher, who again joined the Friday night patrol.
Imagine the surprise when our police van pulled up on Egmont Street for the officers to converse with a group of children gathered innocently on a play area.
“It’s Mr Marshall, Sir,” was their response as they came running towards their headteacher who knew their names and engaged in a friendly conversation.
“It was far better they came to me rather than running away,” he joked.
It is believed Mossley Hollins is the only school in Tameside where the headteacher goes out on patrols with the police.
Mr Marshall said: “A couple of years ago there was an issue with anti-social behaviour and we came up with the idea of me going out with the police on a Friday night.
“When our pupils behave badly outside school it still reflects badly on us, something we don’t like.
“When I go out with the police it also lets parents known that I am taking an interest in the children outside school.”
Next were a group of last year’s Mossley Hollins leavers who were encountered on Staley Road and there was again surprise when Mr Marshall emerged from the van.
Again the headteacher was eager to hear what his former pupils were doing.
Another group of youngsters was spotted in a takeaway and Mr Marshall went to investigate and they were innocently having a bite.
Only one was a Mossley Hollins student, though no doubt the sight of his headteacher was enough to give him indigestion.
It was all relatively straightforward but showed a visible police presence.
“These youngsters will probably be on Snapchat and other social media and word will quickly spread that we are out on patrol,” explained PC Dench.
The fact it was a cold night probably deterred many youngsters from venturing out.
Mr Marshall recalled a couple of incidents from accompanying officers on previous patrols.
They once discovered a Mossley Hollins pupil leaving an off licence with a bag full of booze.
He was frogmarched back in to get his money back while the shopkeeper was reprimanded for selling alcohol to under-age children.
Mr Marshall added there was only one other incident when a pupil was abusive to him so he was apprehended and taken home, with his parents promising to deal with their son.
While we cruised the streets of Mossley and Carrbrook, there was only one incident to deal with.
A car containing four teenagers was parked in Top Mossley Park not far from the war memorial which provided suspicion.
The officers investigated and discovered the lads from Oldham were found to be taking cannabis which was confiscated. As none had criminal records they escaped with a caution.