Hull: Former University of Hull student returns to police her old campus

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18th June 2019
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19th June 2019

Hull: Former University of Hull student returns to police her old campus

Message from Humberside Police:-

The area around the University of Hull is one that throws up a number of unique challenges for our officers who work the beat there.

There are around 15,000 students and 2,500 staff at the University alone which creates its own ‘village’-like community within a relatively small geographical area.

We have to make sure that their requirements are catered for, as well as the thousands of residents who live nearby and the hundreds of businesses that serve the local community.

Just two years in as a police officer, PC Stephanie Makey is the new Community Beat Manager (CBM) for the University ward. She studied at the University of Hull as a mature student, and graduated in 2016 so knows all too well about what life is like in the area.

Q. How does it feel to be back on your old University stomping ground as a police officer?

I’m really excited about it. It feels like it has come full circle as I was a student here. Having had three years experience at Uni and knowing some of the challenges the students have, it’s nice to be back on campus. It’ll be reminiscent as well as being challenging and exciting. 

There are so many things students have to think about such as managing workloads, keeping safe, and all the things that happen on campus. They go out and all they’re interested in is making new friends, having a good time, and of course learning and writing essays.

They tend to forget that they might need to think about security for instance, such as shutting windows, locking doors, and keeping valuables safe so we’re doing an awful lot of work around that.

In previous years students lived far and wide across the city. They were more spread out. Recently they’ve been building a lot of onsite accommodation and slowly moving students nearer the campus. 

It’s almost like a little village in itself. All the facilities are there – shops, pubs, restaurants etc. People don’t really have to go far off campus at all. 

Students get caught up in that life. However, what you might be able to do on campus where they have their own security and patrols, you might not be able to get away with elsewhere.

It’s another kind of education that we give in a way. We not only work with students about personal safety, but things like personal conduct and life in a different city. 

It sounds very simple, but for students who might not have had that personal responsibility before it can be lots to think about. 

Q. What are your plans for your new role?

Firstly we will be around on campus and we will have a visible presence. We really want students to come and speak with us, say hello and get to know us. 

I’ve already held a couple of talks, mainly with overseas students, because right now the majority of students have gone home.

I really want the students and staff to tell us what they want from us so we can put a body of work together and deliver what they want. 

We have Freshers’ week coming up in September. We can have a spike in burglaries around that time with the influx of new students so I’m looking to raise awareness of that and working hard to make sure we can help anyone who may need advice and let everyone know we’ll be there when you need us.

We have My Community Alerts which can be signed up to. We have one specific for the University ward, so where there are incidents such as theft of bicycles for instance we can send a message out in one easy text or email straight away to potentially thousands of people.

I’m very proactive on social media myself so I will be getting more out over that.

I’m still learning my patch, making good contacts already and introducing myself.  That’s what it’s all about and I want people to recognise me and come and say hi.

Q. So what led you into the police force?

Well I’m a local! I’m from Bransholme in Hull and have been the CBM for Kingswood for last two years.

Before I got my qualifications and joined the police I was a social worker in the NHS, a specialist mental health social worker and a teenage pregnancy support worker in some of the more deprived areas of the city.

I do have a good understanding of some of the challenges younger people can face and the temptations that are out there. 

I wanted something a bit different. Mental health was a difficult job as you can imagine. I didn’t want to waste my skills, had spent a lot of money training in social work, and I had a lot of understanding of the area and a lot of people skills. 

The police was just right for me. Essentially we do a lot of social work particularly in neighbourhood policing. I have done lots of problem solving with families on Hull estates. Knowing how to manage someone in crisis has been really useful.

It’s not an affluent background living on an estate but I really enjoyed growing up on Bransholme and it’s made me who I am.

One of the reasons why I went into social care was because I was a young mum myself. I had my daughter when I was 19 and it found it difficult to adapt to being a single parent. Being a teenage pregnancy support worker was my first step into working with other people and working for the public. 

I’ve now got three kids and three step children so me and my husband have a busy household, but he does most of the childcare which really helps with my shift pattern!

Q. You’ve been heavily involved in Operation Yellowfin, the initiative to tackle motorbike crime. Tell us a bit about that?

I got involved with Operation Yellowfin about 18 months ago when I was looking at some problem solving projects. We looked at other forces and what they were doing in terms of nuisance motorbikes.

Obviously back then it wasn’t as high profile as it is now in terms of motorcycle enabled crime. It was more about ASB, just riding up and down the estates, and mainly kids making a nuisance of themselves. 

I did some work with West Yorkshire Police. They were very helpful and use something called Selecta DNA is used to spray offenders. I was able to bring that the Humberside Police. I also travelled to London to spend some time with the Met and their equivalent team to see how they manage it. I’ve learned an awful lot through Op Yellowfin. 

We use long term tactics such as using intelligence, looking at housing tenancies, and seizing the bikes. In the past few weeks we have done a lot of high profile action.

A lot of work we’ve done is on Orchard Park in Hull which borders the University ward so the information will be really useful when we need to know what’s going on across the ward borders.

We’ve had some cracking results – more than 50 bikes recovered, loads of arrests made, remanded and sentenced. We’ve found lots of bikes with no insurance, riders with no CBT so we’ve seized those bikes as part of the operation.

Q. What do you want to say to the people in your new ward?

I came to the University not that long ago. I know what it’s like around here and can relate to it. I’m hoping that will help break down barriers.

Given my work experience and my background I feel I’m good at building relationships with young adults and young people. I want to show a friendly face and be able to help in any way I can.

Everyone deserves to have a happy and peaceful life and I hope I can be instrumental in that. Be reassured we’re here. We want to know what your concerns are so we can help.

Follow all the updates on @HumberbeatHULL

You can sign up to My Community Alert at https://www.mycommunityalert.co.uk/

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