PC stamps out street drinking in Stoke
STREET drinking has almost been wiped out in a town centre thanks to the hard work of a police officer.
Since moving to Stoke Police Station, PC James McMillan has worked tirelessly to enforce an alcohol restriction zone in the town and make it a better place for residents and shoppers.
His efforts have seen him recognised by Staffordshire Police when he was presented with the Christopher James Award for the Community Police Officer of the Year.
PC McMillan now has another reason to celebrate after being nominated in The Sentinel's Our Heroes awards, in the Beyond the Call of Duty category.
Panasonic Store Camera•20x Optical Zoom LEICA DC Lens from 24mm...View details
What Digital camera Gold award winning DMCTZ40
SAVE £20 off our store price ONLY with this voucher
Plus you can also claim a SD card or spare battery
Choice of colours, free parking behind store
Terms: Print this voucher and hand in at Panasonic Store Hanley to save £20 off our store price ONLY £269.90
Contact: 01782 342609
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The 40-year-old, who lives in Stone, said: "Stoke was renowned for drug use and misuse of alcohol.
"People wouldn't shop here because they were scared of what would happen when they went to the cash point or people asked for money or drink.
"Stoke Minster was horrific. There would be children going to visit who had to step over bodies of intoxicated people before they could get in.
"That has all changed now. Stoke is getting to be a nice little town."
An alcohol restriction zone has been in place in Stoke town centre for several years.
PC McMillan has been in the force for 10 years and based in Stoke for three.
He has been praised for developing relationships with residents, shops and pubs to target street drinkers and working with other agencies to get support for them.
But he has also got involved in charity work to raise £2,000 for a specialist wheelchair for a local boy.
PC McMillan added: "I never really reflect on the work I do, so to get an award was unexpected but a massive honour.
"As hard as it is getting, I enjoy my job.
"I can't think of any other job where I would be able to go out, walk around my patch and talk to people."
PC McMillan's sergeant Dave Fenton said: "PC McMillan's area is Boothen and Oakhill but because of his qualities, he has mainly been targeting the town centre.
"He has taken complete ownership of work to improve the area and it has made a real impact.
"It is very rare you see people drinking in the street in Stoke now.
"PC McMillan has built up an excellent rapport with businesses in Stoke who contact him directly on a regular basis and residents who he will speak to whether he is on duty or not."
Inspector Shaun Kerrigan said: "As a community officer, PC James McMillan delivers a consistent and problem-solving approach to his area.
"He is able to use his position to reassure his community, gather local community intelligence and then target offenders.
"PC McMillan has consistently demonstrated his commitment to community policing and has recently resolved an issue of on-street drinking in the community.
"He engaged with partners to secure and maintain an alcohol restriction zone, targeted offenders and made referrals for those involved to gain long-term support.
"He encouraged the local business community to report suspicious activity and offending which led to the quick recovery of stolen property and the arrest of a prolific offender for dwelling burglaries.
"PC McMillan is well-known within the community ensuring that reassurance is given to local residents and businesses."