Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity to celebrate all of the people who offer their time free of charge to help the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner realise his vision for Essex that safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build success and well being for all.
As well as the many volunteers who work with Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for Essex works with three different types of volunteers – restorative justice volunteers, independent custody volunteers and dog welfare volunteers.
The Essex Restorative and Mediation Service volunteers work with those involved in crime or conflict to support them in finding mutually agreed outcomes. The scheme allows victims of crime and anti-social behaviour to get answers, and those responsible for the harm an opportunity to make amends.
The volunteer facilitators visit those involved in the process and work with them to find the best outcome for all. This often results in a face-to-face meeting between harmed and harmer, which is facilitated by our volunteers.
Volunteers receive initial and ongoing training, which they rate 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Our Restorative and Mediation Service Manager, Emma Goddard, has this to say about the volunteers: “I can’t thank our volunteers enough for the dedication, commitment and passion they show for this role. We consistently receive feedback about the positive change they make to people’s lives and that they do that in their own time is extraordinary. They make us proud every day and our service couldn’t be what it is without them.”
Volunteers also work with the PFCC to carry out the statutory Independent Custody Visitor scheme.
The scheme sees volunteers visit police station custody suites to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions they are held in and that their rights and entitlements are being met.
Volunteers carry out between two and four visits to custody suites per month, day or night, and complete a simple report on their findings. Last month our scheme was awarded a silver Quality Assurance by the Independent Custody Visitors Association awards for our work in this area. You can find out more about the role by watching this short film about Geoff one of our volunteers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc01huqcYck&t=13s
The Dog Welfare Lay Visitor Scheme sees the conditions under which police dogs are trained, transported, deployed and cared for observed by volunteers.
Run by the PFCC, the scheme provides an independent monitoring body to advise and make recommendations on the care of animals.
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I am hugely grateful for the invaluable contribution made by our volunteers in providing services and support for the county. The Independent Custody Visitors underpin the safe and effective running of the county’s custody suites and the time the Dog Welfare Scheme Visitors dedicate ensures the continued welfare of Essex Police’s working dogs. The impact our restorative justice volunteers have on people’s lives by helping them to resolve situations where people are suffering harm or who are the victims of persistent nuisance behaviour cannot be underestimated. They make a huge difference to people’s lives.”
If you are interested in volunteering with us, please go to https://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/recruitment-and-vacancies/
If your enquiry relates to operational policing or a crime please contact Essex Police here