Police chief committed to establishing a network of parish volunteers across the county
- Credit: Archant
One of my commitments as Suffolk's Police and Crime Commissioner is to establish a network of parish volunteers across the county to help prevent crime and provide support to the full time professionals of our Constabulary who are phenomenally busy.
The time for this extra help is now and this new local policing volunteer scheme is an ideal way to do this – communities helping themselves is something Suffolk has always been particularly good at.
I was really pleased when we launched our pilot project for the local policing volunteers earlier this month. There are five towns and villages already covered by the scheme – one of which is Beccles.
One reason I'm optimistic about our latest proposals is based on the experience of our volunteers on horseback project, which shows there are plenty of people in Suffolk who care about their communities and are prepared to give some of their time to help.
So what's the new volunteer project all about? Well, the volunteers will act as the eyes and ears in their community. We will be asking them to pay particular attention to anything that seems out of place in their community and report it to the police. Volunteers will receive regular updates from the Safer Neighbourhood Team on what is happening in the area so they really will be part of the local policing family.
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Before individuals start there will be some low level vetting and training to gain a better understanding of how policing operates in the county and to develop their observation skills. This gathering of soft intelligence really is incredibly valuable in the fight against crime and crime prevention, which I know we are all very anxious to deliver.
There's no minimum time requirement as the 'patrol' should fit in with normal daily routines and the volunteers, who need to be 18 or over, will not be tasked to do specific duties. I'm sure this extra capacity brought by these volunteers will make a colossal difference to keeping our towns and villages safer.
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And we're not stopping at just five pilot areas as we have the capacity to increase volunteer numbers further, so if you are interested in finding out more details are on the Constabulary's website – www.suffolk.police.uk – under the 'Join Us' section.
If you'd like to help – we'd love to have you on board.