National Volunteers Week 2018

This week is an opportunity to celebrate the huge contribution volunteers make to help keep their communities safe.

Every day there are people in our communities selflessly giving up their time to make things better for those of us who live and work in Dorset. Every year they collectively donate thousands of hours of their free time to make a real difference and help keep us all safe.

I had the pleasure of attending this year’s Dorset Police Volunteer Awards Ceremony. It was an opportunity to highlight the achievements of our special constables and volunteers and recognise the time, effort and dedication they give to policing and their local communities.

If it wasn’t for volunteers many community schemes would not operate, voices might go unheard and some police operations would not be possible.

As I look to the busy summer ahead of us, where we will be consulting with the public about the proposed merger, I feel reassured that I will have a team of dedicated volunteers in the Office of the Police Crime Commissioner (OPCC) beside me to assist.

Those who volunteer to support my office understand the importance of hearing the views of Dorset residents and enable my team to reach more people so that more voices can be heard. I know that the invaluable consultation we do with the public would not be as thorough and effective without the support of our volunteers.

Volunteers in my office also play a crucial role in ensuring people detained in custody are receiving the correct treatment. Independent custody visitors (ICVs) make regular unannounced visits to custody centres to check the conditions detainees are held in. These visits strengthen police accountability and identify any areas for improvement.

For example, ICVs recently identified the lack of sanitary products available to detainees who were menstruating as an area of concern. This health issue was brought to the forefront through their work and the provision of sanitary products for detainees is now compulsory in all custody centres across the country.

Police and OPCC Volunteers bridge the gap between the police and the local communities they serve. It is vital that Dorset Police continues to be an accessible, open and responsive Force and volunteers are integral to achieving this.

To all those who volunteer for Dorset Police and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner: I would like to extend my sincere thanks for your ongoing commitment to the safety of our communities in Dorset. You really do make a difference.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, you can find more information on the Dorset Police website and OPCC website here >

Martyn Underhill

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