PCSO David Bullock makes a difference in his community everyday… could you?
David joined TVP 15 years ago as a PCSO at 30 years old following an earlier career in acting and scriptwriting. We recently caught up with David about what attracted him to the role, what transferable skills he uses, and some of the fantastic community projects he’s worked on, including writing and publishing PC Ben, Windsor Homeless Project, Windsor Street Angels, and the Windsor Community Defibrillator Partnership.
What attracted you to the PCSO role?
I was on the hunt for a role that offered daily variety and excitement, a chance to give back to my community, and make a real impact on people’s lives. I had been initially inspired when I tuned into a radio interview featuring two PCSOs. Their stories piqued my interest, and I felt like it was role that I could pour my heart into. What attracted me the most was the opportunity to:
- Give back to the community and create positive change
- Experience something new every day
- Fully immerse myself and genuinely enjoy the job
- Utilize my knack for striking up conversations with people
The key takeaway for me was not just about making a difference but witnessing the tangible changes in people’s lives.
How do you feel you make a difference in this local community?
There are countless ways to make a difference as a PCSO. It’s about being a visible presence, investing time in the community, and connecting with people. By immersing yourself in the community, you’ll likely find that the majority of folks want to see you around. They may not always realise the difference you’re making, but you’re doing it nonetheless. For instance, I’ve been a familiar face to a man in my community for years, and it eventually led to him trusting me enough to approach me when he needed help. Just by being out there, you have the chance to build meaningful relationships with people. Think of the town as your office—endless opportunities to help others are waiting!
Tell us about some of the meaningful community projects you’ve been involved with
I am incredibly proud of the Windsor Homeless Project I worked on as it opened my eyes to the fact that our roles as PCSOs can go beyond the conventional, allowing us to create remarkable projects. Two years after the Homeless Project, we launched Windsor Street Angels in February 2012. I feel fortunate that I was given backing from senior Police Officers to set up the initiative (which took 18 months!), and I am still the Coordinator to this day. This project has continued to grow ever since and has helped more than 70,000 people on the streets, additionally being previously nominated for The Queens Award for Voluntary Service. Not only that, but when I speak to our volunteers, they also say it’s changed their lives as it has given them purpose and direction. It blows me away to think that we can make that difference.
Windsor Street Angels is a group of trained volunteers who patrol the night time economy, including nightclubs, pubs, theatres, and parks, until the early hours (3/4 am). Our mission is to watch out for anyone in need, whether it’s providing blankets and warm soup to homeless individuals or helping young people who may find themselves alone and unaware of their surroundings in the town. We also keep a lookout for any signs of predatory behaviour. Unlike most Street Angel initiatives that are church-led, we welcome anyone and everyone to join, regardless of their faith or beliefs. It is, in essence, a partnership initiative that comes under the umbrella charity Windsor Christian Action but is heavily supported by TVP. This collaboration not only reduces police involvement, but also allows Officers to call on Street Angels when they meet people in need. Together, we’re making our community safer and more supportive.
What skills from previous roles and outside of work help you as a PCSO?
My background as a former actor played a crucial role in boosting my confidence when it comes to speaking in front of diverse audiences. This has come in handy for various aspects of my PCSO role, such as delivering talks in retirement homes, addressing school assemblies, and discussing fraud prevention etc. I have the confidence to present information clearly and concisely without letting anxiety get in the way.
Additionally, my experience in scriptwriting led me to write books, particularly in the true crime genre. My love for writing never wavered and led me to create PC Ben. I took the initiative to write what I wanted to read to children but that didn’t yet exist. The PC Ben book presents the reality of policing but in a gentle and entertaining way that shows the variety of work that we do to help people and look after communities. It also gives children a role model in the form of PC Ben.
I am incredibly proud and passionate about creating PC Ben. It is wonderful to think that the book and the inputs that Police Officers are giving across the Thames Valley in schools are building trust with children at an early age and providing a really positive message about the work we do, as well as breaking down barriers. It is also really rewarding to work for an organisation that enables and encourages people to come up with original ideas, that if workable can be developed, becoming a reality that helps and informs others.
What would you say to others considering becoming a PCSO?
Do it! If you’re seeking a job where you can genuinely make a difference, see the impact first-hand, and find a sense of self-worth and purpose, becoming a PCSO is the perfect fit. You have the freedom to mould the role to your own strengths and start initiatives that you believe will benefit the community. The possibilities are vast, and you’ll gain skills you wouldn’t acquire elsewhere.
Like me, you could also have a whole career before becoming a PCSO and still use aspects of your earlier experience. You can be at any stage of your life and bring something different. This isn’t a clockwatching 9-5 role – everyday is different and rewarding in its own way.
If David’s story has inspired you to consider a career as a PCSO, visit our PCSO page for further information on how to begin your journey.