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Sophie Howson

Every Autumn term, the University of Chester and Cheshire Constabulary work together on ‘Operation Cherokee’, a joint initiative intended to help keep both students and the wider local community safe, while preventing and alleviating problems.

For the first two weeks of term, special constables patrolled the Garden Quarter with police officers, providing reassurance to both longer-term residents and students. They delivered safety messages, advice and guidance as part of an ongoing partnership between the University and the police.

Among those volunteering to help was Sophie Howson, from Wrexham. Sophie has been working as a Special Constable for over 18 months. She has also recently completed her Community Policing and Criminal Investigation degree at the University of Chester’s Institute of Policing at the Warrington Campus. She graduated earlier this month. Sophie spent time working with PC Jack Bostock, Cheshire Police Constable and Garden Beat Manager, in the Garden Quarter.

Sophie said: “I’ve always had an interest in a policing career since a young age, from this I went on to study public services in college, and then my policing degree at University of Chester.

“Within my first year at university we were told about the roles of a Special Constable and spoke to current serving officers, after this I realised it was something I would enjoy and that it would also give me policing experience, as that is what I’d hope to do in my future career.

“I became a special within Chester over 18 months ago and I have thoroughly enjoyed the experiences I have had, working with full time officers, PCSOs and other special constables, helping local communities and assisting my colleagues in jobs that we attend. Volunteering has benefitted me as it has shown me what work entails as a police officer, such as the shift pattern and the variety of incidents that we have to attend, while being flexible to allow me to complete my degree.

She added: “I thoroughly enjoyed the policing degree at Chester, as there was various aspects of learning and assessment both practical and theory. The course covered many areas of policing including forensics, digital crime and crime management. I will continue volunteering as a Special to gain more experiences while looking to pursue my career as a full time police officer.”

Jack said: “Thanks to the fantastic volunteer work from Sophie and other Special Constables we’ve been able to offer lots of support and advice to the Garden Quarter community this year as part of Operation Cherokee. Having been a Special Constable prior to joining the Police full time, I appreciate how difficult it can be to volunteer for night shifts, however it makes a huge difference. If anyone would like further information on becoming a Special Constable then please visit the Cheshire Police website.”

The University takes its role in educating its students about responsible community behaviour very seriously. Prior to enrolling, incoming undergraduates are sent information welcoming them to the ‘Communiversity’ of Chester. 

The University will continue to work closely with the police and Cheshire West and Chester Council, to provide an effective and collective response to any issues that arise over the next year. During the summer term, all residential students will receive education from their Residential Advisors on community living in advance of them moving out of University accommodation, and they also have access to its Chester Student Community Guide. 

Community Liaison Manager at the University of Chester, Louise Collins, said: “We work in close partnership with the police officers and PCSOs during Welcome Week and I’d like to thank them for their work supporting our students and members of the local community. It’s really great to see students like Sophie also making a contribution.”

Louise is always happy to help and can be contacted via email on community@chester.ac.uk

 

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