AN ARTY PCSO who spent 18 years on the Basildon beat indulged in his secret passion of photography along the way...and has now had his off-beat pictures put on display.

Police use mobile phones for a number of reasons, including sharing information, carrying out checks and updating investigations.

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Behind the lens - PCSO Ian Grant

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Scenic - outside Basildon police station

However one PCSO, Ian Grant, often used his to capture the beauty of the Basildon borough - when he wasn’t fighting crime of course.

This week his images have been placed around Basildon police station to brighten up the place.

Ian, from Wickford, started at Essex Police in 2001 after formerly working as a manager at a jewellers in Lakeside. He then worked at Basildon police station front counter while operating as a Special Constable before signing up as a PCSO.

Ian said: “There are those busy moments in the day involving anti-social behaviour and crime and there are moments that can be tranquil and pleasant while on patrol. It’s those moments that I’ve tried to capture using my work phone.

“Basildon is very diverse with urban and rural areas and I think my images have helped show this.

“From snowmen in Wickford to the sun setting over Brooke House, there has been so many backdrops over the 20 plus years I’ve been here.

“One favourite is the cat scratching itself on our police bonnet on the word ‘police’.

“When I’m working, I’m not just a PCSO, I’m also a human being and if I see a pleasant moment or a picturesque place, I want to capture it.”

PCSOs play a vital role in the work Essex Police do in the community.

Last week Essex Police launched a recruitment drive as it bids to recruit 200 more officers by March next year. It is hoped that officer numbers will exceed 3,200 by then. For a list of the eligibility criteria and details of how to apply visit essex.police.uk/fitthebill.

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