Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Why volunteers matter

Superintendent Richard James
Neighbourhood Policing and Partnerships

I have been looking at how police can meet the needs of local communities in the future. Through my work it is clear the vital role that volunteers can play to help us do this.

I am delighted and grateful for the contributions made by so many members of our communities who dedicate their own time to help keep people safe

Thames Valley Police has established a strong Special Constabulary and launched Cadet schemes across Local Police Areas that provide valuable support.

We currently work with 500 Police Support Volunteers performing a wide variety of roles across the Force including volunteering at our police station front counters, helping people make their homes safer, working with the roads policing team, the licensing team, the cyber crime team, helping us improve access to information for members of the deaf community and through puppy socialising.

There are also examples of strong local collaborations with communities and businesses working together, but more needs to be done.

The Neighbourhood Watch schemes have almost 100,000 members, we know that faith and community groups are keen to work with us, and we are also approached by charitable groups and foundations offering to support us. We need to consider how we make best use of this available capacity in all that we do.

The challenge for the future is to better understand our needs and explore how volunteers may help us meet these through providing technical skills and expertise, managing local engagement, consultation and problem solving, tutoring, coaching and mentoring.

Volunteering Week is a great way to recognise and thank all those who work with us to build stronger communities with the active participation of our residents, businesses and partners.

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