A NEW police community support officer (PCSO) is walking the beat in Worcester and has been thrown in at the deep end on a drugs raid.

However, she says her real buzz is making people in the community feel safe.

Di Smith, pictured here outside Warndon police post in Cranham Drive, is one of a new breed of PCSOs to benefit from beefed up powers of detention (for up to 30 minutes) as part of her role with West Mercia Police.

The mother-of-four, based in Spetchley Road, and covering a patch which includes Battenhall, Ronkswood, Nunnery and St Peter's was involved in a drugs raid in Tolladine, Worcester on Thursday after starting as a PCSO on March 11 following six weeks of training at police HQ in Hindlip.

Mrs Smith, originally from Ledbury and a trained teacher, said: "I love working with people, talking to people and getting to know people. It's nice to be able to reassure people and make them feel safe."

The 36-year-old is first aid trained to the level of an ambulance first responder which could give her the ability to save a life if the occasion presents itself. She enjoys going house-to-house and learning information which can help her and colleagues in the job.

Mrs Smith was one of 18 officers and two sniffer dogs who attended two warrants in Rose Avenue and Holly Mount Road, both in Tolladine, on Thursday.

PCSOs are members of police staff who carry out a range of activities to support regular police officers. With their distinctive uniform, their main role is to undertake high visibility patrols out in the community. By taking the time to talk to people and getting to know their local area, they are often described as the 'eyes and ears' of the community.

They are trained to calm heated situations and defuse hostility, but are not expected to deal with violent incidents, including arrests, and have radio access so they can call for assistance if necessary.

In addition to their patrol, day-to-day activities include dealing with minor offences, offering early interventions to deter people from committing offences, providing crime prevention advice, gathering evidence through observation, or conducting house-to-house enquiries.

They have powers to issue fixed penalty notices in relation to a range of anti-social behaviours, but do not have the power to arrest.