We are celebrating Volunteers’ Week by thanking all of our 1430 volunteers who work with us every day. From special constables and cadet leaders to community speedwatch volunteers, police support volunteers and many others, we are lucky enough have over 1430 volunteers working for us.
Volunteers work selflessly, dedicating their time to addressing policing issues that matter most to local people. Bringing a wide range of skills and experience to their roles, they make life better for our communities. Together they have donated over 80,000 hours in the last year, to help us keep our communities safe.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Volunteers play a hugely important role in making our communities safer and stronger. Not only do they support the police across many different roles, they also play a vital part in assisting me as your PCC.
“It’s important that residents are given the opportunity to be involved in their local police service, whether that’s as a neighbourhood watch coordinator, volunteer police cadet, independent custody visiting volunteer or a police support volunteer.
“Our volunteers are people who are passionate about policing and I thoroughly enjoy working alongside them. On behalf of our communities I would like to say a big thank you to all of our volunteers for your continued contribution, commitment and dedication.”
Meet some of our volunteers:
Hope, Special Constable
After I turned 18, I entered an application for the Special Constabulary. The thought of being let out on the streets, on my own, in uniform, frightened me – as it did everyone else – but it has been one of the most rewarding things I have done. I have met many different people and communities, and it makes me proud to think that I have made a difference to so many of them. Being a Special Constable has improved my confidence, and I have met some great friends along the way.
Don’t get me wrong – volunteering your spare time can be challenging, however I promise it is worth it. There have been many times where I have gotten off late, lost out on sleep, and sometimes cancelled plans from where there is a last minute event where additional help was needed, however throughout this I have always known that the work I do is really appreciated by my colleagues and that alone makes it all worth it.
“Hope is described as someone who is never shy to take on any job that comes her way; whether that’s managing disorders outside of nightclubs or taking part in ‘Op Tonic’ drink and drug driving operations. She works tirelessly and is always keen to improve her knowledge and experience.”
Nick, Neighbourhood Watch
I have always volunteered within the communities that I have lived in, but I have a strong affinity with reducing crime and the fear of crime which often affects the most vulnerable people in our communities. It was the PCC Sue Mountstevens who put me in touch with the local policing directorate and they saw I had a passion to make a difference and encouraged me to get more involved.
I enjoy making a real difference. Being able to help out your local and wider communities is a privilege. You rarely get an opportunity to make a really positive difference to people’s lives. It's great knowing you are part of something that really helps people. It gives me a buzz.
I think volunteering for the police is one of the most positive things I have done. In a climate where austerity is biting harder each year, it's good to know the contribution you can make to keeping communities safe and free of crime is really appreciated.
“[Nick] is seen by the community, and their team, as an essential element in the life of the neighbourhood”
Christine, Police Support Volunteer
I started volunteering in 2011, when I took early retirement from my Human Resources role. I was looking to contribute to our local community so I explored volunteering with Avon and Somerset Police. My first volunteering role was with a Child Protection charity which was based at HQ – I stayed there for 3 years, helping administratively and supporting raising awareness of child protection in the wider community. The charity relocated in 2014 and I was then approached to join the team supporting the work of the Police Cadets.
I enjoy all aspects of my work – my team are so friendly and supportive. I am the first point of contact for parents/carers to enquire about what joining the Cadets will mean for their child – mainly by email but also by telephone. I consider it of vital importance that the Public are reassured from the outset that we will undertake our duty of care to the Cadets to the highest degree. I liaise between the Unit Leaders on requirements for their role, which utilises my skills of communication and administration and keeps my IT knowledge up to date!
I would recommend volunteering unreservedly – I’m sure I get more out than I put in! It is a valuable way of serving your community – I personally feel that our young people are our future – joining the Cadets provides them with vital skills for the future in respect of team work and responsibility, as they are involved with so many diverse activities. I’m so pleased I contribute to that.
“Christine has provided invaluable administrative and organisational support, that has contributed to the success of numerous projects from protecting the most vulnerable in our community, to strengthening and improving local policing teams”
Chris, Police Cadet Unit Administrator and Leader
I started by helping the neighbourhood sergeant in Radstock with general administration and when he became involved with the Police Cadets I started doing all the administration for the that. When the sergeant retired I took over the running of cadet unit as one of the two main leaders as well as continuing to do the administration.
Being retired, I feel it is important to keep active. I enjoy being fully involved with Avon and Somerset Police having had a life-long career in the emergency services. I enjoy working with the cadets; seeing them develop from nervous recruits into confident young adults, and supervising them at our weekly sessions and community events.
Doing the administration for the unit means that each day is never the same; never boring. Sometimes it’s processing new applicants, or arranging uniform issues, at other times planning the weekly programme, or managing the unit’s finances, or coordinating cadets for community events, and constant communication with the cadets and their parents. This makes it all very interesting. Overall I feel it’s worthwhile doing and I find it very satisfying.
It can be challenging preparing a programme that is challenging and interesting for the cadets, with which they want to get involved and will enjoy. There is quite a time commitment to give what is required. As the cadet unit administrator and main leader, I work eight hours per week on average.
Would I recommend it? Most definitely particularly if you like working with young people and is up for a challenge.
“The commitment that Chris has made as a volunteer is considerable and I have had really good feedback from the cadets and their parents about how engaging, helpful and supportive he is.”
Posted on Friday 2nd June 2017