'Irreplaceable' Ginny retires from Suffolk police after 17 years
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A woman who won the Stars of Suffolk Police Person of the Year, received a British Empire Medal and served as a trusted and respected PCSO for a decade, is finally retiring.
Virginia Shoesmith — known to all as Ginny — originally joined the intelligence unit at Suffolk police, where she worked for three years before taking interest in the PCSO role.
Despite worrying her age would hold her back, she was successful on the second application and has since become an integral part of the relationship between police and Ipswich communities.
"I really found my niche," she recalled. "I loved every minute of it, being out and about in the community and really enjoyed just talking to people.
"One of the main requirements of the role is communication and you need to be able to speak to absolutely anybody — I like to think I was always a friendly face people could trust and found approachable, perhaps because of my age or as a woman.
"It doesn't matter how old you are though, you never stop learning."
In 2017 Ginny was honoured with a Stars of Suffolk award, then in 2018 she was selected for the Queen's New Year's Honours as the recipient of a British Empire Medal services to policing and the community in Ipswich.
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In recent years she took on the role of Diverse Communities Co-ordinator and has spent several months training her replacement Stella Frangleton.
The pandemic was a catalyst for her decision to finally step down as it pushed her work into the digital realm and took away the in-person contact she enjoyed most.
Inspector Rebecca Kidd-Stanton, Ginny's manager, said the former PCSO was "modest", "understated" and totally "irreplaceable".
"I don't think she realises what she's achieved during her career," she said. "She has a list of contacts that go right across all communities so when we need to get messages out she knows who to go to.
"She has been integral to our response throughout the Covid pandemic and there will be a significant gap when she moves on."
Sadly, due to pandemic restrictions Ginny is unable to see everyone she'd like to bid farewell.
If you'd like to send in your memories or well wishes, please contact Insp Kidd Stanton at: Rebecca.Kidd-Stanton@suffolk.police.uk