Valuing Our Volunteers
This week, it’s Volunteers Week and Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne is celebrating the thousands of hours of support that volunteers selflessly commit to Sussex Police.
There is a wide range of volunteer roles across Sussex Police, from Special Constables, Cadets and their leaders to Police Support Volunteers. There are also many partner volunteers who dedicate their own time to supporting policing such as Independent Custody Visitors, chaplains, search teams and Community Speedwatch.
Volunteers play an absolutely vital role in policing. They help to increase capacity and capabilities of the force, bringing a wealth of diverse and valuable skills with them and providing key links to local communities.
During Volunteers Week, PCC Katy Bourne visited Southwater Community Police Office – a police office set up and run solely by volunteers. Opening in 1996, the office was the first of its kind in the country. They deal with a wide range of duties including passing on information to the police from the public, handling lost and found property and pets, filling out crime reports, fielding queries and acting as a link between the public, local beat officers, PCSOs and Horsham Police Station.
Many of the volunteers have over 20 years’ service, and the Southwater Community Office and volunteers have been awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.
There are over 150 Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) across Sussex assisting with a variety of roles including fraud prevention, admin support, public enquiries and HR. Despite the pandemic, over 5000 hours of support were given last year from PSVs.
Below PCC Katy Bourne meets with some of the team from the Southwater Community Police Office and hears about their time spent volunteering:
David Scott, office manager of Southwater Community Police Office says: “Southwater Police office is a great asset to the Southwater people and to Sussex Police. We have all ages of volunteers from 18 to 87. I am proud to have seen many of our volunteers becoming police officers here in Sussex. At the moment, we have 3 volunteers going through the process to join the force.”
As volunteer police officers, special constables have full police powers, uniform and equipment and work alongside regular police officers and PCSOs to help protect and serve the people of Sussex. There are currently over 100 Special Constables in Sussex and in the last year they delivered over 25,000 hours of support – an invaluable service to the county.
This Volunteers Week, Katy Bourne met with Special Constable Paul Dowling to find out more about his time in role and his most memorable moments as a Special Constable.
Special Constable Emily Rockey said:
"Being a Special Constable has brought me so much. The skills and experiences gained by being a special constable are more than you could ever receive through a training course.
I have been able to work with some of the most passionate front-line officers, and while at times it is tough, because like any regular officer you never know what you might attend, the opportunity to make a difference to someone through even the smallest of interactions is something that I take great pride in."
Cadets & Cadet Leaders
There are currently 140 Cadets across Sussex aged 13-18. Becoming a Cadet provides the opportunity for young people to undertake constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time.
Cadet leaders, who are police officers, special constables, police staff or volunteers registered with the Extended Police Family Board make such positive differences to so many young lives by providing them with unique opportunities to thrive as well as the chance to grow in confidence and gain life skills.
PCC Katy Bourne spoke with two Cadets, Joe and Olly as well as their Cadet Leader, PC Sally Scott about what it’s like being a Cadet:
SPOTLIGHT ON: Sussex Community Search Team
Many volunteers across Sussex assist the police in protecting the public and making sure communities are safe including: Sussex Search and Rescue, Sussex 4x4 Response, Crimestoppers, Citizens Advice Witness Service, Sussex Resilience Forum, Search Dog Sussex, Neighbourhood Watch, National Coastwatch Institution and many more.
This Volunteers Week we are featuring one of the community volunteer teams that provide support the force - Sussex Community Search Team (SCST).
SCST is the longest established of the volunteer search assets in Sussex, with its origins dating back to 2000. It is also one of the largest, currently with 134 trained and vetted volunteers. SCST’s primary role is searching for missing and/or vulnerable persons or lost or abandoned property in urban and rural areas in Sussex.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the team assisted with the transportation of urgently needed PPE. As of April 2022 SCST has contributed over 3,400 hours at vaccination centres and this support is ongoing.
Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne says: “Volunteers Week is a great opportunity to say thank you to all the volunteers across Sussex Police, including those who volunteer with partner agencies and victim support services. Their support is not just recognised and greatly appreciated this week but all year round. Every day volunteers dedicate hours of their own time to assisting Sussex Police. Their efforts are admirable and their selfless commitment is invaluable”
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer with Sussex Police, please visit: