Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Sue Mountstevens is celebrating Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June) by saying thank you to policing volunteers who continue to support officers and staff.
The impact volunteers make to both Avon and Somerset Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) is beyond compare and they work incredibly hard all year round. In recent weeks, volunteers unwavering ability to adapt in their roles in response to the global health pandemic has been inspiring.
PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “During the coronavirus pandemic, every Thursday evening we have been recognising our fantastic key worker heroes who continue to go above and beyond to keep us all safe. We must not forget those volunteers who support our policing services; our volunteers play a huge role in keeping all our communities safe.
“I do not underestimate the commitment and dedication from our volunteers who selflessly give up their time to support officers and staff, especially having to adapt in such challenging circumstances. Our volunteers are passionate about policing and our communities, and I want to say well done and a huge thank you for all you do.”
For Volunteers’ Week the OPCC is showcasing the hard work of the volunteers who dedicate their spare time to support the work of the team.
Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs):
Anita Dibble volunteers her spare time to check on detainees in custody as an ICV:
“As ICVs we check the rights, entitlements and wellbeing of detainees in custody. We also work with staff to enable the smooth running of custody and, where possible, suggest improvements. Our role is important because we can comment on the issues in custody, as well as the things that are going well.
“During the lockdown the priority across the world has been to keep people safe. We have adapted our role to ensure both ICVs and detainees are safe and protected by doing remote ICV visits. ICVs have adapted to doing remote calls to detainees in custody. We have also been checking custody records, as a priority we have been focusing on high risk detainees.”
Find out more about ICV’s
Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel (SOPP):
David Woodward is the Chair of the SOPP Panel for Avon and Somerset:
“The panel provides a local resident’s view of police officers use of force in order to act as a critical friend, improve and maintain public trust and satisfaction with the police, and support the openness and transparency of the force in delivering a high quality police service.
“Due to enforcement of Covid-19 regulations, local people’s confidence in the police may have changed. We have extended our role to include scrutinising Body Worn Video (BWV) of officers’ interactions with local people during lockdown, and will continue to do so.
“I look forward to reviewing more police records in the coming year as our country returns to a new normal.”
Find out more about the SOPP
Out of Court Disposal Panel (OOCD):
Mike Evans volunteers as Chair of the Avon and Somerset OOCD Panel:
“OOCDs are a way of dealing with less serious offending. Avon and Somerset Police are victim focused and take into account the full circumstances of the offence, offender’s and victims’ wishes. The Panel meets every three months to scrutinise the use of OOCDs in response to national recommendations following concerns about their appropriate use.
“Although we cannot change decisions made, the open and honest conversation with the police means that regular feedback is given to officers and training needs can be recognised, for individual officers and also for the whole police force.”
Find out more about the OOCD Panel
Independent Residents Panel (IRP):
Simon Barnes volunteers his spare time to Chair the IRP:
“The IRP is made up of people from all walks of life and we meet four times a year to review complaints against Avon and Somerset Police. Acting as a critical friend to the police, our job is a positive one. When we review files, we are not just looking for negative points but also examples of best practice that can be distributed to officers and staff. Over the years we have seen improvements in many areas such as the quality of the communications between officers and local people.
“This is my sixth year of volunteering in this role and I am still enjoying it! The work is fascinating and it has been a chance to meet new people and get involved in something which really makes a difference to how local people experience and interact with the police.”
Find out more about the IRP
Eltjo de Vries volunteers behind the doors of custody as an Appropriate Adult:
“I support young people under the age of 18, or adults identified as vulnerable, when they have been arrested and brought into custody. My role is to safeguard their rights, interests, welfare and entitlements during their time in custody.
“I support and facilitate communication by making sure the person understanding what is happening and what they are being asked. In a sense, I am like a “buddy” during a difficult and stressful time.”
Find out more about Appropriate Adults
To find out more about Volunteers’ Week click here: https://volunteersweek.org/
Posted on Monday 1st June 2020