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Volunteers in Policing – A voice for our communities

Today is International Volunteers Day and I would like to take a moment to reflect on the work of volunteers in policing. In particular, I would like to acknowledge those who support the work of my office. Independent Custody Visitors and Scrutiny Volunteers help me by providing an additional check and balance to police work.

Volunteers also support me at events and help gather the views of the public through engagement and consultation. I am extremely grateful to each and every one of them for their time and effort.

One area where volunteers make a real difference is scrutiny. Scrutiny Volunteers help me hold the police to account by representing their communities on Independent Scrutiny Panels. The Panels are held four times a year and enable me to look into the work of Dorset Police and provide recommendations for how they can improve their service. Individual cases are anonymised and looked at in detail by the Panel and their feedback, including positive feedback, is sent to the frontline officers or police staff involved.

Currently, we are looking for more people who live or work in Dorset to come forward and join the team of Scrutiny Volunteers. I am looking for as wide a group of people as possible, and I’m particularly keen for younger people and those from different ethnic backgrounds to get involved and have their voices heard.

People are needed to sit on four existing panels, each of which looks at a specific area such as how Dorset Police uses its stop and search powers; how the police interact with the public; how officers use force when responding to incidents and how they use out of court disposals such as cautions and warnings. Volunteers are also being sought for a new Panel being set up to look into hate crime in Dorset.

We’re looking for people who are good communicators, have great team working skills and who have integrity – but most of all who care about what’s happening in Dorset and want to work with me to help improve our police service. If you would like to get involved, or know of anyone who would, then please visit the Independent Scrutiny Volunteers page website to find out more >

Martyn Underhill


Further info:

Anyone who sits on a panel must be 18 or over, be an English speaker, have been resident in the UK for more than three years and currently live or work in Dorset.

To find out more and to download an application form, visit the Independent Scrutiny Volunteers page here >

The closing date for applications is Thursday 20 December and interviews will take place on Tuesday 15 January.

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