National Volunteers' Week 2017
As part of the week-long celebration, I was lucky to spend this afternoon discussing the new Police and Crime Plan with a group of our fantastic volunteers.
I have always referred to the fact that 1 in 10 people in Dorset volunteer as a humbling statistic, a figure that increased significantly during the “Olympic Surge” in Weymouth in 2012. Dorset people should be proud of what they do to help others, whether it is in policing, charity work or other public services, they really do make a difference.
Inside policing, every year, selfless individuals donate thousands of hours of their time. Countless community schemes would not operate, views would not be collected and police operations would not be possible without the commitment of our volunteers.
As I look ahead to the busy summer events – one of the most important consultation periods of the year – I feel reassured that I will have a team of dedicated volunteers beside me who understand the importance of hearing the views of Dorset residents. Throughout the year, I am truly humbled by the passion that my volunteers demonstrate and am well aware that the invaluable consultation we do with the public would not be as thorough and effective if we could not call on our volunteers.
It is not only through community engagement that volunteers help me to fulfil the post of police and crime commissioner. Eighteen Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) play a crucial part in ensuring that people detained in custody are receiving the correct treatment.
Through regular, unannounced visits, the ICVs gain a valuable insight into custody conditions and discuss their findings at quarterly team meetings, to uphold standards and seek improvements to strengthen police accountability. You can find out more about their role here.
In the past, OPCC panel volunteers have helped us take decisions on how best to allocate funding via community grants to many valuable charities and community groups throughout Dorset. Though the commissioning process is changing, their expertise will be drawn on for other activity and I am excited to explore new ways of working together.
When it comes to creating new policy in relation to policing and community safety, we will regularly be consulting with our volunteers who provide a fantastic source of local knowledge and experience. Public contact of this sort really helps us to maintain a police service that is in touch with local needs, views and concerns.
It is vitally important that Dorset Police continues to be an accessible, open and responsive force and volunteers are integral to achieving this. If you would like to find out more about our volunteering opportunities, including details of how to register your interest, please click here.
To all the Dorset Police and OPCC volunteers: I would like to extend my sincere thanks for your on-going commitment to the safety of communities in Dorset.