HUNDREDS of people seized the opportunity to head to Chichester Police Station yesterday (July 19) to find out more about the force.
Parents and children were wowed by dog displays and looked on as forensic officers demonstrated some of their skills at Chichester Police’s open day on the field next to the station, in Kingsham Avenue.
The event was organised by PCSO Lisa Shadbolt, of Chichester Police, who has watched the event gather momentum over the past few months.
“I think everyone’s had a good day,” she said. “That’s the point of doing this – it’s about showing how friendly the police are.
“We’re normal people and just come to talk to us.”
Inspector Will Rolls added: “It’s a day that my team looks forward to. It’s a day that the community looks forward to.”
He went on to say: “It’s a great opportunity for the community to see the different aspects of policing, to get up close and personal to different departments.
“It’s also a great opportunity for Sussex Police and the neighbourhood policing teams to engage with people of all ages and let them see what we do, how we do it and interact on a real human level.
“They see the human side of us, which is really important.”
Barbara Batten, from Tangmere, brought her 11-year-old son Alex to the open day after he heard about it from a friend.
“He loves emergency services stuff and of course the police,” she said, adding the police officers were all very friendly.
“It’s wonderful isn’t it? They’re very approachable.”
Michelle Tinkler, from Hunston, brought her seven-year-old son Henry and her five-year-old son Ollie. Their grandfather used to be a police officer in Chichester.
“It’s really good fun, the kids have loved it,” she said.
“It’s very child-focused as well as informative, with information for adults. This is the first time we’ve come.”
Liz Ralph, from Graylingwell Park, also brought her children along.
“We’re just finding out all the different things that the police do,” she said.
“It’s a very good event – I think because it gets everybody involved, the whole family.”
There were a range of activities on offer for everyone throughout the day.
Speed indicator devices, normally used for speeding cars, were used to see how fast the children could run.
The road policing team were on hand, as well police support units, firearms officers and the dog units.
District commander of Chichester Police Justin Burtenshaw wore padding to demonstrate the training of a police dog, but found himself taken out from behind in the demonstration area.
“It hurts,” he said afterwards. “You just can’t hear them coming.”
He added: “My advice – if you’re told to stop by a police officer – is stop.”
He added it had been a ‘great day’ and praised PCSO Shadbolt for organising it.
Money raised on the day from a raffle went towards the Royal Sussex Regimental Association.