Continue to promote volunteering opportunities
The PCC has long been an advocate of volunteers and citizens in policing. This commitment underpins his support for the ongoing development of volunteering opportunities with his office and the Force.
The OPCC has successfully recruited and developed volunteering opportunities across the current PCC term of office.
Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) scheme
The office has continued to manage our ICV Scheme, providing vital scrutiny of the treatment of detainees in police custody. This has included recruiting and training members, including a specific push to recruit younger volunteers through targeted activity with Bournemouth University and local colleges.
The PCC has created a series of scrutiny panels to assist with his role in holding the police to account on behalf of the public. Current panels review issues around customer service, use of force, stop and search and out of court disposals and all include independent volunteers, often acting as chair. The OPCC continues to manage these panels, including member recruitment and training. More information can be found here and here.
To support our consultation and engagement activities we also work with a team of dedicated volunteers, without whom we would not be able to speak directly to large numbers of people at public events across the year. As our volunteers come from the community, this helps us to connect policing with the public – a core function of the PCC.
Police Cadet scheme
The OPCC took a lead role in forming the first ever Police Cadet scheme in Dorset before handing the project over to the Force. This included the recruitment of volunteer Cadet Leaders, a pool of diverse individuals with a broad range of skills, knowledge and experience. More information can be found here.
Through the Community Grant Scheme the PCC has provided funding to a wide variety of voluntary organisations to support projects that connect to our Police and Crime Plan objectives.
Volunteering also has a significant role to play within Dorset Police, although balancing the management and training of these volunteers against operational priorities remains a challenge
Special Constable and Police Support Volunteer numbers have remained fairly static across the term, but more emphasis is now placed on the amount and quality of time that can be given by those volunteers. The total hours completed by Police Support Volunteers has grown from 8,293 in 2016 to 9,994 in 2018. New volunteer roles have been created, including with the rural crime team and as Police Cadet leaders.
The Special Constabulary has worked in partnership with students from Bournemouth University to create the ‘Be More. Be Special’ recruitment campaign which has already seen an increase in applications from more diverse backgrounds. Retention rates for Specials have also increased across the term of office.
A new Citizens in Policing Group has been established, including representation from the OPCC, which will play a significant role in informing future activity in developing volunteering, including the growth of the Police Cadet scheme.
Community Speed Watch (CSW) is another area that has seen significant growth in volunteer participants.
This is a partnership between local volunteers and the police in areas where residents have highlighted speeding as a concern, and aims to reduce speed and cut the number of road traffic collisions. There are currently more than 60 CSW locations in Dorset, none of which would be possible without volunteers. The PCC continues to promote CSW to support his own road safety priorities.