Coffee and crime prevention advice given to Thanet’s veterans by isle PCSO

PCSO Adrian Butterworth with some of the attendees of the Thanet Age UK Veterans’ Coffee Morning in Margate

A Kent Police Community Support Officer has been spending time supporting veterans in Thanet.

PCSO Adrian Butterworth, who works as a Crime Prevention Officer in the Thanet Community Safety Unit, makes time regularly to sit down with some of the district’s oldest residents to provide company and safety advice.

Most Thursday mornings, PCSO Butterworth can be found chatting to those who attend the Armed Forces Veterans’ Coffee Morning organised by Age UK at Zion Place, Margate.

PCSO Butterworth said: “The people who attend are veterans who have been isolated due to the pandemic and are now being gradually eased back into the community.

“Most rarely see anyone else, and this might be the only time in a week they get out of the house. I found out about it from one of the organisers. They had asked me to give a presentation at another event they had organised.

“If I am not committed to anything else, I try to go along to this event as often as I can.”

The visits to the coffee mornings allows PCSO Butterworth to ensure residents are safe from becoming victims of crime.

He said: “It gives people an opportunity to sit in an informal and relaxed setting and speak about a range of subjects. I can update them on any issues affecting their community or make them aware of scams which have been reported to Kent Police.

“Unfortunately, as people get older, they can become vulnerable and at risk of being a victim of crime. Examples include being targeted by burglars who use distraction techniques to talk their way into their home to steal. Perhaps they might find their trust has been abused by a fraudster who has taken their bank cards or convinced them to hand over large amounts of cash.

“If they don’t have much social interaction, they might not have had the opportunity to tell anyone. I want to do what I can to prevent crime but also to link with communities and individuals and make sure everyone is ok.”

The group is not the only one PCSO Butterworth will visit as part of his role, but as a veteran himself, he will admit it holds a special place in his heart: “I served nine years in the Royal Artillery, and know that many of these people have been through extraordinary experiences, lived through the horrors of wars and faced really difficult situations.

“The attitude their generation will have is just to get on with it, and not seek help. They may not be comfortable reporting if they have been a victim of crime, but I hope my experience as a veteran encourages them to talk about any concerns they might have. Even if it is not a police matter, I will try and find them someone who can help them.

“Sometimes, a nice cup of tea and a chat can make all the difference to someone’s day.”