PCC Mark Shelford is celebrating National Volunteer’s Week and saying a huge thank you to the volunteers who work alongside the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).
From Special Constables who are on the frontline supporting local people to volunteers who sit on scrutiny panels to help the PCC in his role in holding the police to account, PCC Mark Shelford has praised their continued efforts and hard work.
“Our volunteers are compassionate and courageous individuals who continue to support the work of the police and the OPCC. These volunteers – who freely give up their time – have had to adapt in the last 16 months and, yet, have still made a real impact on local communities.
“I do not underestimate their dedication and commitment and, as PCC, I look forward to meeting and working closely with volunteers to ensure Avon and Somerset has an efficient and effective police service for all.
“So, to the volunteers who support the work of the OPCC and the police, thank you and remember you are absolutely essential to the work we do.”PCC Mark Shelford
Independent Custody Visiting (ICV), the Independent Residents Panel (IRP), the Out of Courts Disposal (OOCD) and Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel (SOPP) are made up of local people who freely give up their time to help the OPCC ensure the police service is open and accountable.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the panels have gone above and beyond to adapt to ensure such work can continue.
The ICV scheme gives local people a real insight into the conditions in custody as well as the reassurance that someone independent of the police is checking on the welfare of people arrested. Despite the pandemic, the volunteers have continued to visit custody every week and, in the coming months, will be particularly focusing on the theme of checking children in custody and reducing overnight stays as well as remote legal advice no longer being available to children detained in custody.
The IRP volunteers meet quarterly to dip sample complaints, assessing them for efficiency and fairness, as well as highlighting good practice. Next month, the panel will be reviewing complaint cases within the theme of Body Worn Video used as part of the complaint handling process.
The SOPP is made up of local people from diverse backgrounds who help monitor the use of force such as the use of Taser and Stop and Search. At their next quarterly meeting, the volunteers will scrutinise incidents within the theme of disproportionately, linking in and using the local Lammy Group’s recommendations. The panel will be reviewing Body Worn Video of Stop and Searches where black people are compliant but have still been handcuffed in the Somerset West or Bristol East area.
Finally, the OOCD panel scrutinises the use of OOCD to ensure it has been used appropriately, to highlight examples of good practice and to make recommendations for improvement.