Merseyside Police Community Support Officers John Munro and Paul Burns have been recognised at the Community First Service Awards for their work in leading ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ around the streets of Goodison Park.
The annual awards recognise the work of Merseyside Police officers and staff, and PCSO Munro and PCSO Burns, from Walton Lane Police Station, were rewarded for their ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ initiative which was primarily set up to get young people involved in clearing away matchday litter around Goodison Park before they attended the game.
The scheme embraces the principles set out in Merseyside Police`s Community First policy, it also allows young people with the opportunity to change the environment where they live, also installing confidence in the police service.
After accepting the award at the ceremony at Hilton Liverpool, PCSO Munro said: “We are proud to receive this award because the scheme is such a joy to run, having the chance to engage with local young persons and take them to watch Premier League football, some of whom have never been to a professional football match before is fantastic.”
The scheme was first introduced five years ago and although successful in its first season, the two PCSOs identified that it was not reaching its full potential as they believed the operation should be more than just a diversionary activity for the young people involved and so they introduced an educational theme to the operation which ensured that young people would be more appreciative about the environment in which they live and would think about how items which they collected could be recycled.
In consultation with several housing companies, John and Paul raised external funding for 12 Season Tickets for young people and working with local schools in the area, it was decided that the young people should be selected on a reward and recognition basis and that the clean-up should take place around the area where the young people live.
PCSO Munro and PCSO Burns worked with Everton in the Community's Neighbourhood Manager Sarah Atherton to set up and run the charity’s ‘Sweeper Zone’ scheme which embraces the Blue Mile work run by Everton Football Club to cut down on the litter being dumped in the areas where members of the public congregate prior to attending Goodison Park.
More than 2,000 young people have taken part in the scheme since it was created five years ago and in the 2016.17 season alone, 513 streets in the Everton, County, Anfield and Kirkdale areas were cleaned by 542 young people, 42 school teachers and local PCSOs.