This week is National Volunteers Week and we caught up with some of those who give their time free of charge to help Lincolnshire Police in East Lindsey.
There are 16 Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) and two Volunteer Police Community Support Officers (VPCSOs) based in East Lindsey.
PSVs undertake a wide range of roles across the district including a number of Front Counter Volunteers at Alford, Wainfleet, Sutton on Sea, Mablethorpe and Woodhall Spa.
Some of these Front Counter volunteers are almost “part of the furniture” as they have been there, in Dennis’ case at Wainfleet, for 25-years, keeping local stations open to the public and generally helping out the local teams.
There are also NPT Support volunteers, car cleaners and one Restorative Justice Facilitator based in Mablethorpe.
The two VPCSOs in East Lindsey are Adam in Skegness and Dan in Louth. They have both been in the role for almost a year and between them they have contributed over 700 hours of their time.
“I’d definitely encourage people to get involved and be a volunteer as you learn a lot. It is a chance to do something for the community and be part of a team.”Christina
They are regularly out on patrol with their mentors. The question of powers for VPCSOs requires a change in the law and the force is progressing this through the Home Office and College of Policing, but Dan has demonstrated that VPCSOs can be just as effectively involved in operational policing even without powers and was instrumental in finding a recent missing person in Louth.
A recent recruitment event in Skegness attracted more than 20 potential volunteers with a number interested in the VPCSO role and hoping to get through the recruitment process for the next training course starting in September.
Local officers are an integral part of this process and it is really important that local officers have a say in who will be volunteering with their respective teams.
We met some of the Lincolnshire Police’s volunteers:
CHRISTINA – NPT SUPPORT AT HORNCASTLE.
Chris has been volunteering for five months in Horncastle. In that time she has been trained on several police systems; she does Lincs Alert updates, updates the Sentinel system, she recalibrates the Drager devices, sorts out the office and has even carried out mock interviews for students at the local school to improve their future employability.
Chris has an education background and after retiring felt as though she wanted more of a challenge and said that being a PSV “fits around my life really well.
She added: “I love coming here and look forward to coming in and having a bit of banter and humour. I’d definitely encourage people to get involved and be a volunteer as you learn a lot. You see the police role in another light and realise how much pressure they are under. It is a chance to do something for the community and be part of a team.”
COLIN – POLICE VEHICLE CLEANER AT SKEGNESS
Colin has been a PSV for two years and feels that even though the process to become a Police Support Volunteer took quite a while due to the checks required, the benefits have been worthwhile.
Colin said “They put you on courses that you don’t get from other employees such as the driving assessment and it opens your eyes up to how the local community and Police Force work together.”
“The Coast’s police vehicle fleet is the envy of other stations as Colin looks after them so well. He was really missed when he was unable to get into the station for a few weeks and officers and staff had to revert doing the weekly vehicle checks.
Sergeant Kate Odlin, said: “Colin gives his time up each week to come and do all the vehicle checks and to wash and valet all the cars. This is an enormous workload taken off officers which frees them up to be out and about in the public.”
ADAM - VPCSO AT SKEGNESS
Adam has always been interested in a career in the Police Service and came across the VPCSO role advertised in the local newspaper and realised that by volunteering he would get a better understanding of the police and hopefully an advantage when it comes to applying for jobs.
Adam started his VPCSO training in May 2014 and has been patrolling with a mentor for just over a year. He finds that the VPCSO role has been received very well in the Skegness area and any of the PCSOs at his station are happy to take him out on patrol meaning he has access to a real diversity of experiences.
His Sergeant said: “Adam is a valuable part of our local Neighbourhood Policing Team. He gives his free time up to come on patrol and help out his local community.”