A Man with Immense Respect
Dan Bevan is the nearest thing to a Sheriff that Rye has ever had. For the past four years he has been patrolling the town getting on top of vandalism, petty offences and often being involved with more serious crimes.
Since those bad old days of 2001 and 2002, by which time Rye’s quota of police had slipped from 49 in 1966 to just six (none of whom were able to undertake more than token beat patrols), vandalism and car crime was almost out of hand. This followed a trend happening all over the country.
Because beat patrols were not included in the contracts of policemen and the public were screaming for foot patrols, a new scheme was introduced. PCSO’s (Police Community Support Officers) were employed in their thousands and hit the streets in 2003.
Rye was fortunate indeed to have Dan Bevan among its allotted three. PCSO’s came dressed like policemen but without powers of arrest. This proved to be a great advantage to them as they could catch a criminal then call on a policeman to arrest him or her. This left the policeman to do the paperwork and allowed the PCSO to look for the next miscreant.
Dan took to the job like a duck takes to water. He is popular with young and old alike and goes to endless trouble to help people. “He is just like an old time copper” one senior lady told me after she had been frightened by some very drunk youths and Dan had arrived on his faithful steed, his famous white police pedal cycle. “He confiscated their cans and bottles and stayed with me until they were safely on their train to “Ashford”.
Dan presents a high profile, the amazing amount of hours, many on his own time, spent helping youngsters get their skate-park, promoting and supporting “Shop Watch”, and fighting to get cameras in town monitored at Rye Police Station have paid off by helping him get to grips with local crime and its perpetrators. He gives his mobile number to anyone who may need it and when on duty, usually gets to any call for help within minutes on his police bike.
Cycling comes easy to Dan, who does not drive. He lives at Guestling with his partner Sam and new baby Finlay. Dan cycles to Rye most working days. His beat also covers Playden &Rye Foreign so he has to cycle up Rye Hill on many occasions throughout the week.
Dan Bevan made an impact right from the start. His enthusiasm earned him a visit to see Prime Minister Tony Blair on 14 March 2005. Rye MP Michael Foster had heard of the things Dan was getting up to help people in Rye. Michael himself paid tribute to Dan “I put Dan forward for the reception at No.10 and was very happy to do so. Everywhere I go in Rye I hear positive things about what he is achieving in the local community. He goes the extra mile, often giving his mobile phone number out so people can stay in touch. Residents on Tilling Green Estate are very impressed by his work. Dan is a fine example and Ryers are fortunate in having his service.”
A presentation of a Community Worker congratulatory certificate from the Prime Minister & Mrs. Blair was made to Dan Bevan inscribed with the words,
For his outstanding achievements, towards his role working in the community as a PCSO in Rye.
Some of those achievements and many others since 2005 include visits to all Rye schools giving talks about his job to pupils and getting to know them. Supporting youngsters in achieving their goal of getting a skate park established in the town, reviving the Shop Watch programme, supporting local charities and so many other local events.
Two of Dan’s pet hates are drug dealers and those that facilitate under-age drinking. He has been involved in drug busts and has apprehended persons buying alcohol and confiscated many gallons of beer and lager from under-age drinkers, some from children as young as eleven.
Dan’s high profile coverage in local newspapers and this magazine have added to his fame, he has become a living legend in Rye. I doubt if many in Rye could put a name to the two other PCSO’s who started out with him, they are Police Constables now but Dan prefers his PCSO role, even if it carries a smaller salary. It keeps him in touch with the people in Rye and Playden. The November 2006 “Rye’s Own” carried these words about Dan, they are still just as relevant today as they were then.
“The best workers in most walks of life are those that have a vocation for the job they are doing. PCSO Dan Bevan is certainly in that group. He loves his job and has done a great deal to restore the Rye public’s trust in its police force.
Dan, with his “state of the art” police bicycle, equipped with radio and other technical instruments, is a friendly face around the town. He has gained the trust of the younger element, being very much involved with the BMX Skateboard project that is at last coming to fruition. Dan is pleased that the first phase is up and running and is looking forward to seeing the remaining features completed. These will allow for disciplines and activities to be performed by the many skateboarding and BMX enthusiasts.
Dan Bevan is also fighting to get a video camera security system installed in Rye. He has gained the support of local business and tells me that the cameras would not necessarily be static, they could be moved to cover different streets at different times.
Besides the regular traffic and crowd control he carries out at local events, Dan is also very active with the crime prevention and mobile camera vehicle. He has been seen on Thursdays handing out leaflets and giving advice on preventing pickpockets and bag snatchers from operating successfully in Rye General Market.
Dan Bevan has been involved in “drug busts”, arrests of “persons going armed with tools intent to burgle”, arrests of car thieves and many more but his whole outlook is prevention rather than arrest.
His work has been praised in letters to the “Rye Observer”and in “Rye’s Own”
One woman told of the way Dan looked after her when she was seriously injured in a motor accident.
Dan is not a “one man band”. He works as part of a team with four (now six) other PCSO’s based on Rye & District alongside the local police officers. Dan’s area is Rye, Playden and Rye Foreign, but he is often supported in specific jobs in Rye by the other four whose normal beats are in particular villages. Vice, Versa, Dan is sometimes called out to help his colleagues in the villages.
The highest testimonial to Dan Bevan, and the one he would be most proud of, came from a Rye lady aged 89 who said he is like an, “old fashioned policeman”.
Dan Bevan has become part of Rye’s ‘scenery’ but he doesn’t disappear into it unless he is on surveillance duties. His natural smile and powerfully built figure inspire the confidence and respect of both the public, and his police and PCSO colleagues. The young people of Rye also have an affinity with him. He is a good man to have on your side.
This article about him was inspired by his fourth year anniversary as a PCSO. These four years have seen a very marked decrease in Rye’s crime figures, in no small part due to the efforts and achievements of Dan Bevan.
Let us hope the ‘Sheriff of Cinque Ports Street’ continues to patrol Rye for many years to come.
“Rye’s Own” July 2008
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