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True grit: PCSO commandeers lorry to track down missing boy

A quick-thinking police community support officer commandeered a gritter lorry to track down a missing boy. Paul Goodier leapt into action after receiving a report that the youngster had run away from his parents in Tiverton, Devon. He flagged down a gritter lorry and asked the driver if he had seen a boy matching the description.

The driver said he had and PCSO Goodier jumped into the vehicle to head to the area where the youngster was last seen. They located the boy, who was “shocked” to see the officer climbing down from the cab. A spokesman for Tiverton Police said: “Following a report of a young lad having run off from his parents, Goodier swung into action.

“Thinking on his feet he flagged down a gritter, on the basis that the driver had, to some extent, been ‘patrolling’, and asked him if he had seen a lad matching the description. He had. “Then in a moment of inspiration, Goodier had a ‘follow that car moment’.

“Taking a round-about route to responsibly ensure no area of road was ‘double gritted’, they went to the area of last sighting. “The boy’s shocked face as our officer of the week climbed down from the cab was apparently a picture, he didn’t even think to run off. “With thanks to the gritter driver for his flexibility, determination and grit, for not making a complaint of kidnap and hijack and for putting up with PCSO Goodier in his cab for over 10 minutes.”

The spokesman said officers spend a significant amount of time helping the vulnerable and searching for missing people. Time is also spent working in partnership with other agencies, combining resources and sharing information. “There are also even occasions when we will deputise capable and competent members of the public to assist us in our keeping of the peace,” the spokesman said.

“PCSO Goodier gets the award for Tiverton Neighbourhood Officer of the week for successfully combining all three of the above.

“He hijacked a gritter.

“I am not sure if he got the driver to raise his right hand and swore him in as his deputy, but this was partnership working, deputising and searching all delicately rolled into one.”

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