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PFCC Volunteers Making a Difference in Essex

The incredible volunteers who support the work of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex have been celebrated at a special event.

A Volunteers Appreciation Event took place at Whitbreads Barn in Chelmsford to recognise the great achievements of almost 60 volunteers who give their time as Restorative Justice, Independent Custody Visitors and Dog Welfare volunteers.

The volunteers took part in workshops, speed dating style sessions where they learnt about different community safety initiatives, had presentations from experts from ICVA – the national Independent Custody Visiting Association and watched a display by the Essex Police Dogs. The event was also an opportunity for the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner to recognise the achievements of the volunteers at a special awards ceremony.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “Our volunteers make a huge difference to the people of Essex. Our Restorative Justice volunteers have allowed our Restorative Justice and Mediation Service to grow, enabling victims and perpetrators of crime to achieve meaningful reparation, seeking to heal the harm caused by offending.

“Our Dog Welfare volunteers help to provide assurance that our police dogs are cared for in the best way possible which is crucial for both the police and the wider public.

“Our Independent Custody Volunteers work closely with ICVA and Essex Police custody staff to continuously improve the rights, dignity and welfare of those in police custody. Our volunteers have helped changed national legislation, which improves the way female detainees have access to sanitary products whilst in custody. This only happened following concerns raised by our volunteers.”

Roger added: “The importance of volunteering cannot be overestimated. Our volunteers make a huge difference to our county. On behalf of myself and the people of Essex, I want to say thank you to you all!”


Awards Winners:

Long Service Award – Dog Welfare Visitors

Pauline Rae from Leigh-on-Sea

Pauline joined the scheme in 2014 and has been a constant in ensuring the scheme continues. The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is grateful to Pauline for ensuring the scheme keeps going through changes in staff and process and has ensured a good relationship with the dog unit, making sure the safety and welfare of the dogs is paramount.


Long Service Award – Independent Custody Visitors

Leslie Mitchell from Halstead – 16 years service

Colin Philpott from Maldon – 16 years service

Mike Hepton from Epping – 14 years service

In 2003, the Home Office made the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme a statutory requirement for the then Police Authorities. Subsequently the Authority went on a recruitment drive in which nine extra ICVs were taken on, two of whom are still going strong 16 years later (Leslie and Colin) and a third who joined in 2005 and has just completed his 14th year with the scheme (Mike).  The many hundreds of hours they have given during that time, ensuring detainees have their welfare, rights and dignity is a monumental achievement.

Long Service Award – Essex Restorative Justice and Mediation Service

Pauline Emberson from Ingatestone

Veronica Sherry from Woodford

Geoff Wright from Colchester

These people completed their RJ training in August 2015, and have been instrumental in helping to develop the service from the fledgling, pilot project it was when they took a leap of faith and joined us to the successful service it is now. The Service would like to thank them for their input, advice, patience and all the hard work they have put in to helping victims and offenders through RJ.

Special Mention Award – Restorative Justice

Stephen Hawkins from Rayleigh

Stephen is supportive, gets involved in the team and gives advice and feedback easily. He, along with others, takes time to promote the service whenever he can. Stephen takes time to arrange and deliver awareness sessions for partner agencies, taking some of the pressure from the office. He is always quick to give positive and constructive feedback, nothing is ever too much trouble and his positive attitude lifts everyone. Stephen offers to take on extra tasks, takes the opportunity to attend extra training sessions and never complains.

Special Mention Award – Restorative Justice

Pauline Emberson from Ingatestone

Gary Knights from Coggeshall

Veronica Sherry from Woodford

These three people have been instrumental in advancing and expanding the RJ service. All of them take on incredibly emotional and challenging cases and never waver in their professionalism, empathy and skill. When the service decided to take on more complex and sensitive cases, and needed to choose facilitators to entrust these cases to, they did not hesitate to select these three individuals. They take on the most emotional and challenging cases, ensuring that every victim receives their right to RJ. They have helped to develop and expand what the service offers, and their positive outcomes help to promote RJ to those who question in the benefit of it. Their commitment to those they are working with is wonderful, and they will often put in long hours and miles to get the right outcome for the participants. Their cases often go on for months, even years, but their passion and commitment does not change. The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex is very grateful for their dedication and feedback.



Special Mention Award – Restorative Justice

Laurie Posner from Wickford

Laurie demonstrates never-ending patience, a heart of gold and unlimited positivity. Nothing is ever too much trouble for Laurie, and he often goes out of his way to give positive feedback about the service and his co-facilitators. Laurie calls regularly to ensure the office is up to date with his cases, but also just to give the team positive messages which is a real boost. He lifts everyone up as a service and as individuals, is always appreciative of efforts and makes people feel valued.

Laurie works a lot with new people to show them the ropes and is always looking for the next challenge. He will offer to take the jobs and cases that no one else wants to do and is as enthusiastic about tricky neighbour disputes as he is about complex and sensitive cases.


Special Mention Award – Independent Custody Visitors

Geoff Wright from Colchester

Geoff’s perpetual sunny nature is appreciated by his team members and makes him a hit at the office too. Overcoming obstacles in their personal life, Geoff continues to give up so much of his time to help others in so many different ways.


Special Mention Award – Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex

Rich Wicks from Braintree

Rich helps out over all three of the volunteering roles in the office. He is a joy to be around and is keen to do any task set for him. When thinking of words to describe this individual, a comment made by a fellow team member summed him up perfectly, describing him as ‘the glue that keeps the team together’. The hours of dedication and diligence Rich has given is incalculable when also taking account of the support he provides to both his colleagues and the office. No task is ever too big, no ask too small – he delivers over and again.  Even when half way around the world, if a report needs to be sent – Rich sends it. Carrying out tasks with graciousness and always ready with a smile, the contribution Rich gives is hugely appreciated by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

People’s Choice Award – Independent Custody Visitors Scheme

Trish Harvey from Hockley, right, winner of the People’s Choice Award – Independent Custody Visitors with Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex. Photograph (c) Stephen Hawkins

Trish Harvey from Hockley

Trish is clearly popular with other team members. Comments made by peers extoll them as extremely dedicated and always ‘going the extra mile’ during visits. Other accolades include that they are ‘a huge champion of the scheme’, and someone who is always supportive of colleagues but also manages to have a good rapport with custody staff, understanding their challenges and frustrations.  From an office perspective the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner is equally grateful, not only echoing colleagues’ words but also for Trish’s impressive technical knowledge as there is no spreadsheet too challenging and no data they can’t analyse.


Pauline Rae from Leigh-on-Sea, right, winner of the People’s Choice Award – Dog Welfare Scheme with Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

People’s Choice Award – Dog Welfare Scheme

Pauline Rae from Leigh-on-Sea

Pauline is our longest serving Dog Welfare Visitor and has kept the scheme running. She has stepped up to train new volunteers and has willingly accompanied them in their first visits in order to help them learn the ropes. Those who voted for her were very appreciative of her help and felt that her guidance helped them feel more confident.








People’s Choice Award – Restorative Justice

Sue Jones from Southend

Sue has been described as ‘full of knowledge’ and ‘always happy to help’. Those who voted for Sue talked about how she never complains and always offers to help others and share her knowledge. Not only does she do a good job at facilitating, arranging meetings and updating systems, but she also delivers a good presentation! One nomination stated: “In everything Sue does, she always goes the extra mile to be a good ambassador for the Restorative and Mediation Service”.

Sue Jones from Southend, right, winner of the People’s Choice Award – Restorative Justice with Jane Gardner, Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex. Photograph © Stephen Hawkins

The Service believes that this award is well deserved as they have seen the growth in confidence in Sue, and are so proud of what she has achieved. Sue is a strong person, full of creative ideas and always looking for a challenge. Participants and co-facilitators always speak about her highly and she works hard.

If you would like to volunteer as a Restorative Justice Facilitator, Dog Welfare Visitor or Independent Custody Visitor please go to our website


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PFCC for Essex, Kelvedon Park, London Road, Rivenhall, Witham, Essex, CM8 3HB
01245 291600

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