The Power of Volunteering – Message from PFCC Roger Hirst
“I have always believed that safe, secure communities are the bedrock on which we build wellbeing and prosperity for all and that we can all play a role in our own communities to ensure criminals have no scope to thrive
and no place to hide.
A key aspect of this community involvement is volunteering and in the last three years we have seen a significant increase in the number of people putting their hand up to join the wider policing family.
Essex Police now has the fastest growing Special Constabulary in the country and is second only to that of the Metropolitan Police in number. New ‘Community Specials’ roles, where councils and the police work together to recruit and train local officers, have just been officially launched in Hullbridge and Canvey with more to come in Billericay, Halstead and Little Clacton.
Community Specials are dedicated to the towns or parishes they serve with the local council contributing to the cost of training and expenses. In June last year, Witham Town Council became the first local authority in Essex to fund Community Specials. The three officers in Witham have now developed a close relationship with people in the town. The intelligence they gather is giving criminals in Witham increasingly less space in which to operate. Witham is a real exemplar of the difference that Community Specials make to local, accessible and visible policing for local residents. I would like to see Community Specials in every town or parish in the county.
If you would like to volunteer as a Special Constable you can find out more from the links below. You can also watch a short film of Deputy PFCC Jane Gardner out with the team in Witham and me out on patrol with the first Community Special in Hullbridge.
Jane Gardner was a Special Constable for seven years and I too do my bit as a Community Speed Watch volunteer. Essex County Fire & Rescue Service coordinate more than 500 volunteers working across 90 registered Community Speed Watch groups in the county and the importance of their work cannot be overstated. The death toll on our roads is higher than the number of people killed as a result of any other kind of crime. There is no excuse for speeding or poor driving of any kind. It costs lives, destroys families and road closures can have a significant impact on the health of the county’s economy.
As well as the many other volunteers who work with Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service I have three volunteer schemes running from my office:
Restorative Justice Facilitators mediate between someone harmed by a crime or conflict (a direct victim, a victim’s family member or a witness) and the person responsible for that crime or conflict. This gives those harmed the chance to tell the offender how they feel about what has happened, ask for an apology and get answers to their questions. It can also help those who have committed crimes or anti-social behaviour to reintegrate into society and can reduce the likelihood of them reoffending.
Independent Custody Visitors inspect police station custody suites to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and to ensure their rights and entitlements are being met.
Dog Welfare Visitors monitor the conditions under which police dogs are trained, transported, deployed and cared for.
If you are interested finding out more about these volunteer roles, please visit my website for more information: https://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/giving-you-a-voice/
In closing, I extend my very grateful thanks to the many volunteers across Essex; you really do make a difference.”
Roger Hirst – Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex
To find out more about Community Speedwatch go to: