A Kent Police Community Support Officer has been hailed a champion for his work helping veterans in Thanet and the wider county.
PCSO Adrian Butterworth was recognised as an Armed Forces Champion 2022 at the Armed Forces Network’s Together We Can Make A Difference conference held in May in Sussex. The award is given to people who have shown dedication and support to the Armed Forces community.
PCSO Butterworth works within Thanet Community Safety Unit as a Crime Prevention Officer, and spends time visiting local groups and individuals to support and advise them on staying safe.
He is also an armed forces champion for Kent Police, and has assisted many veterans he’s met in the community as well as those who have been identified as linked to the forces, via calls received through the Force Control Room.
Working with the community
Adrian regularly visits coffee mornings for veterans organised by Age Concern in Margate where he updates them on any issues affecting their community or makes them aware of scams which might target elderly people.
He also takes part in local events in Thanet such as Armed Forces Day and Remembrance Sunday. Last year he organised and led a group of volunteers to spruce up the War Memorial in Margate’s Trinity Memorial Gardens in time for Armistice day.
PCSO Butterworth, who served for nine years in the Royal Artillery, said: ‘I was not aware I was getting an award- it came as a complete surprise – I had no idea!
‘Through my work in the force, if calls come to the control room relating to anyone who has served in the forces, as well as any police response, they will also be flagged to me. It doesn’t matter if the veteran is young or old, victim or perpetrator, I will contact them and arrange a meeting over a cup of tea and chat. If I can help them, I will, perhaps they have issues with PTSD, mental health, or they are struggling to find a home or a job or they just can’t settle back into civvy street after their time serving.
‘They say a problem shared is a problem halved so, if they want to sound off without judgement or they need help, I will do what I can.’
Inspector Ian Swallow of Thanet Community Safety Unit said: ‘PCSO Butterworth plays an important role in that he can use his own personal experience to connect with those in need who have military backgrounds.
‘Sometimes people want to talk through their worries with someone who can reassure them from a similar viewpoint and we are proud of PCSO Butterworth’s ability to do that. He will help them to report a crime, and if it’s not a police matter, he will work with partner agencies to signpost veterans to further help.’
Adrian collected his award on Tuesday 7 June at the Kent and Medway Civilian Military Partnership Conference in Folkestone. It was presented to him by Lady Colgrain, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Kent.