Custody and dog welfare volunteers lead the way in National Volunteers Week
A number of hard-working volunteers go the extra mile every day visiting police custody suites and helping to keep police dogs happy and healthy.
Roger Hirst, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I am hugely grateful for the valuable contribution made by our volunteers in providing services and support for the county. The time they dedicate ensures the continued welfare of Essex Police’s working dogs and the safe and effective running of custody suites.”
Independent Custody Volunteers working for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) can visit police station custody suites at any time of day or night, checking on the treatment of detainees, conditions in which they are held and that their rights and entitlements have been met. Their work offers protection to detainees and police, and reassurance to the wider public of Essex.
The scheme currently has 22 volunteers who are responsible for eight custody suites situated across the county. ICVs always visit custody suites in pairs and make three visits per month. ICVs must always maintain impartiality; they look, listen and report on what is seen or said to them by detained people about their experience since arriving in custody. After each visit they provide a report of the current picture of the custody suite, and any issues that the custody visitor has identified to do with the maintenance standards of the facility, and the rights and welfare of those detained in custody. The reports are reviewed and the results presented to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, and any issues identified are then followed up. ICVs are given full training and are expected to attend the quarterly meetings organised by the OPCC, as well as being encouraged to attend regional and national conferences.
The Dog Welfare Lay Volunteers are members of the local community who observe and report on the conditions under which police dogs are trained, transported, deployed and looked after. Working dogs are an important part of any police service and provide an invaluable service to communities in apprehending criminals, identifying drugs and generally helping police officers to keep the peace. The Dog Welfare Lay Scheme aims to provide assurance to the PCC, police and the community as a whole that the animals are cared for in the best way possible.
We currently have five volunteers who are responsible for independently monitoring the 40 dogs based at Sandon, near Chelmsford. Each police dog is to be inspected by a volunteer at least every six months and visitors are required to complete a report form of their findings and return it to the Scheme Administrator for recording. Newly appointed visitors will also be invited to attend an information/training session with the Dogs Trust. Additionally, periodic and refresher training days will be provided, as and when required.
All our volunteers receive training, support and guidance. If you would like to volunteer for the OPCC please contact [email protected] for more information, or visit the dedicated website pages:
To learn more about volunteer’s week and the work that volunteers do visit: https://www.ncvo.org.uk/training-and-events/volunteers-week