All change as officer hands over the reins

Harriet Lee, 16

St John’s College, Southsea, GCSE art exhibition

Users of a popular drop-in centre have said a fond farewell to the police officer who has led the scheme for the past year-and-a-half.

PC Zoe Pragnell has become a familiar face in Leigh Park since she took on the running of the Pride of Place project in the Greywell shopping precinct.

During her time at the helm she has brought Royalty to the centre – overseeing a visit from Princess Anne.

She has also given the drop-in centre a complete makeover, making it more child-friendly and cramming it with bright paintings and toys.

And during her time in charge she has arranged numerous clean sweeps around Leigh Park, sorted out advice sessions on issues ranging from smoking to computers, and has always provided a listening ear for visitors.

Now she has gone on maternity leave. Scores of people turned out to a leaving party to say goodbye to PC Pragnell and welcome Police Community Support Officer Anna Micklefield, who has taken on the tough challenge of following in her footsteps.

The 26-year-old thinks it will help her get to know shopkeepers and residents in the Greywell precinct, which will stand her in good stead as a PCSO.

'I'm really excited about it,' she said. 'Being a PCSO, it's a good chance to get involved in the community.

'I'm here to give advice and I'm also here if people want to just come in and chat.

'Some people don't always want to go to the police station.

'I'm friendly and approachable and I listen to people. I'm quite good at giving advice.

'I'm hoping to continue what Zoe was doing, and keep going onwards and upwards from there.'

She already has plans to spruce up a skatepark and put on a fashion show, as well as holding monthly clean sweeps at local schools.

PCSO Micklefield has worked with Hampshire police for three years, and was previously in an administrative job. She has been a PCSO for a year.

jenny.haworth@

thenews.co.uk

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