We are celebrating Volunteers’ Week by thanking all of our volunteers who work side by side with the police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Ranging from Special Constables to Independent Custody Visitors, we are grateful for all of those who selflessly give up their time to help keep our communities safe.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens: “The impact our volunteers make to both the police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is huge. Our wonderful volunteers support the police in ensuring our local communities are safe and feel safe.
“I do not underestimate the commitment and dedication from all our volunteers and it is always a privilege to work alongside so many people who selflessly give up their time. Our volunteers are passionate about policing and our communities, and I want to say a massive thank you and well done for all you do.”
Community Speed Watch (CSW) volunteers play an important part in keeping the roads across Avon and Somerset safe. There are many schemes across the force area and volunteers are trained to use speed monitoring equipment to check traffic speeds on local roads. They note down details of vehicles driving at a fast pace, which is then passed on to local officers. Registered keepers are then written a warning letter – the scheme is about educating drivers, not enforcement.
One CSW volunteer said: “I joined because I had some spare time and I wanted to put something back in the community – and I like to think I’ve helped educate drivers and change people’s attitude to speeding.”
We also have 285 uniformed Volunteer Police Cadets who give up their time to support communities in every local policing area. Cadets are aged between 14 and 17 who learn about policing whilst also supporting neighbourhood policing teams to deliver crime prevention advice.
Earlier this year, we recognised Taunton Head Cadet Josh Davies with a PCC Pride Award for his outstanding attitude towards his role as a Cadet in Taunton. Josh commits over 20 hours a month working actively within his community, taking an active role to assist Cadet Leaders and has proven himself to go about and beyond. Speaking after the awards ceremony, Josh said: “I’m really proud to receive such an award, I am pleased that I am recognised as a cadet. I enjoy my role as head cadet and it has really improved my confidence.”
Find out more about the awards here.
Special Constables are both an important and valued aspect of policing, bringing a different type of dynamic and enthusiasm to the police force. The role our 304 Specials play in our police force should be admired. Becoming a Special Constable is another way of volunteering to support local police. Special Constables have the same powers, uniform and equipment as regular officers, but carry out roles in support of policing after a rigorous selection process.
We recently recognised four Special Constables with PCC Pride Awards for their dedication and commitment for the successful Rural Crime Initiative in the Exmoor area. The volunteers were nominated by the Exmoor National Park Authority for “working anti-social hours, liaising with other agencies and working closely with colleagues in Devon and Cornwall Police”.
Find out more about becoming a Special Constable from Simon Bale, who has been a Special Constable for Avon & Somerset Police for the last 28 years, in his blog here.
Independent Custody Visiting is vital part of the work of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Volunteers visit police stations to check on detainees in custody, the conditions in which they are held and that their rights are being observed.
Anita Dibble, Deputy Co-ordinator for the Bridgwater Custody Visitors, said: “I joined the Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) team approximately four and a half years ago. I have found Custody to be a fast pace, revolving door. It’s a place of learning, adapting and adjusting to improve the service. Collaboration and listening to Custody staff is just as important as listening to the detainee because, with excellent communication, issues can be resolved much easier and better with understanding on both sides.”
Read more in Anita’s blog here.
Volunteers Management and Policy Officer for the PCC, Kathryn Palmer, said: “A big thank you to all the PCC’s wonderful volunteers: the Independent Custody Visitors, the Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel members, the Independent Residents’ Panel, the Police Vetting Appeals Panel member and the Out of Court Disposals Panel independent member. You are a crucial part of making Avon and Somerset Constabulary open and transparent through your so valuable ‘critical friend’ role, both challenging and praising.
“You are a local resident, giving up your priceless time and being committed through your scrutiny work to insist upon achieving a high level of public satisfaction and confidence in the Police service. This benefits all of us in our local communities. The Police listen and can learn and improve by taking appropriate and proportionate actions. I am very proud of the volunteers and their commitment to the beneficial work of their Panels.”
We are also incredibly grateful for volunteers outside of the Constabulary, such as David Simmonds, who spent 44 years volunteering for Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue Team.
David is a finalist in this year’s Be Proud Awards for the Police Support Volunteer of the Year category. After hearing the news, he said: “In 1974, I was probably the youngest founding member of the original Avon Gorge Cliff Rescue Team, renamed in 1990 as Avon and Somerset Search and Rescue and am still an active member. I was given the nickname 'The Boy ' which is still in use today.
“It is difficult to quantify who has benefitted most from my voluntary contribution to the community and I have been privileged to work alongside several generations of the team without whose support I would not have achieved this nomination.”
Find more about how we are recognising our Police Support Volunteers and Special Constables in this years Be Proud Awards: www.beproudawards.co.uk
National Volunteers Week is running from June 1 - 7. To find out more about Volunteers’ Week 2019 visit www.volunteersweek.org
Posted on Friday 31st May 2019