PFCC pays tribute to volunteers across Essex
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst, has paid tribute to volunteers during National Volunteers’ Week 2020 for their hard work, dedication and community spirit.
Volunteers play a significant role in keeping our communities safe, working with Essex Police or Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and supporting projects run directly out of the Commissioner’s office, such as the Restorative Justice and Mediation Service, Independent Custody Visiting and the Dog Welfare Scheme.
Speaking at the start of National Volunteers’ Week, Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Our volunteers make a huge difference and on behalf of myself and the people of Essex, I want to say thank you to you all!
“This year more than ever those who give up their time to help others have shown how invaluable they are. Without them we couldn’t be able to provide the significant services we do. Even more importantly it is through volunteering and the work volunteers do that we create the communities we want to live in. They bring our services closer to the people and create the community spirit that has shone so brightly through these difficult times. Even in these challenging times our volunteers have worked with us to adapt their working methods so they can continue providing a service to our communities. The importance of volunteering cannot be overestimated.”
Our Restorative Justice and Mediation Service work with victims and perpetrators of crime to bring about meaningful reparation. Since April 19 our hard-working 40 RJ volunteers have logged over 900 hours and have completed 63 successful outcomes. They’ve also maintained positive satisfaction rates of 93% and a 4.9 / 5 average star rating for facilitator satisfaction.
All our volunteers working in restorative justice receive training in areas including trauma, drug and alcohol, stalking and harassment, and domestic abuse J9 training. The Restorative Justice and Mediation team have also handpicked experienced volunteers who act as advanced facilitators to take on some of our most serious cases including sexual offences, domestic violence and homicide.
As well as providing valuable services, volunteers also report receiving a sense of worth from what they do. As one volunteer says; “By volunteering I have had the opportunity to work with fabulous people as part of a fabulous team. I can use my own initiative to help improve the circumstances of both victims and offenders.
“The satisfaction one can gain from the experience is incredible. It makes me feel so good and so valued!”
Our Independent Custody Volunteers work closely with the national Independent Custody Volunteering Association and Essex Police custody staff to continuously improve the rights, dignity and welfare of detainees held in police custody. During the last year they conducted over 142 visits, checking personally on over 660 detainees. The team have also been responsible for highlighting the lack of adequate sanitary provision for female detainees. This was raised at a national level and directly led to a change in the law.
Independent Custody Visitor, Ron Capes joined the scheme after serving as a Special Constable and Magistrate. His experience had shown him that those held in custody are entitled to rights and should be treated with dignity and respect. It was this that prompted him to become an ICV. Ron says: “I left work but always carried with me an interest in local crime issues and a desire to play a part in my community. Being a part of the ICV scheme enables me to help gain oversight that ensures proper treatment of detainees is given.”
We also want to give a huge thank you to our police dog welfare volunteers who provide an independent monitoring body that advises and makes recommendations about the care of police dogs. In the last year they conducted 47 welfare reports on our four-legged heroes providing reassurance to the wider public, that our PDs are looked after to the best possible standard.