Special Constables and police support volunteers got together at Exeter Police Station last week to share experiences and receive personal thanks from senior officers.
The gathering was organised to show appreciation for all the unpaid hours that volunteers give to their local communities.
Superintendent Antony Hart, who heads up the Exeter, East & Mid Devon Local Policing Area, Chief Inspector John Shuttleworth and Citizens in Policing Champion Inspector Dave Turner were on hand to say thank you in person.
The volunteers invited along work across Exeter, East & Mid Devon and help out at local events, as well as supporting regular police officer colleagues and staff in a variety of situations.
Superintendent Antony Hart told those present: “I really take my hat off to you. The contribution you make is fantastic and it’s a massive thanks from me. The difference you make every day is immense and this is even more important as we enter our busy summer policing period.”
The guests included vehicle check volunteers, a wellbeing volunteer, Police Cadet leaders and role player volunteers who help with scenarios for police officer and Special Constable training.
Martinne Rowland, Development Officer for Citizens in Policing at Devon & Cornwall Police, added: “We wanted to organise an event to say thank you to all the fantastic volunteers who work in our communities and give so many hours to help out.
“For instance, during April this year Special Constables in Exeter, East & Mid Devon have dedicated 1104 hours and other volunteers have given 207 hours of their own time to the area. This is a great achievement and really helps the force and the public. Many of our volunteers tell us that they enjoy a feeling of satisfaction when they are giving their time back to the community.”
There are 200 volunteers supporting across the Devon & Cornwall force area, which includes 34 in Exeter, East & Mid Devon. Forcewide there are 167 Specials and 45 of these help out across Exeter, East & Mid Devon.
Special Constables have arrest powers and wear the same uniform as colleagues, as well as carrying the same equipment. They can be seen out on patrol and attending incidents across our communities, alongside regular officers. They help out at lots of community events throughout the year. Many have paid jobs and manage their volunteer hours around their careers such as supermarket manager and roles in the medical profession.
Special Constable Paul Fudge is based in Cullompton, Devon and has served with the force for six years. He also gives his time as a Cadet Leader in the Tiverton area. He previously worked as a funeral director in various parts of the UK and Canada, as well as a Special Constable for Warwickshire Police and Avon & Somerset Police.
Paul said: “It is great to be part of the wider family of Devon & Cornwall Police. I’m a community person and I love being out there. The role of Special Constable is all about the care of people and making a difference. Even if we are dealing with difficult situations once you explain you are a volunteer people tend to respond well to that.”
The Citizens in Policing team also support the Volunteer Police Cadet Scheme in Devon & Cornwall which is open to students between the ages of 13 and 18. Some Cadets recently helped out at the force’s public engagement stand at the Devon County Show near Exeter.
National Volunteers Week runs from June 1 to June 7 and helps to showcase all the great unpaid work that goes on across our area, as well as in other parts of the UK.
You can find out more information about Specials and volunteers by visiting the Devon & Cornwall Police force website www.devon-cornwall.police.uk. Follow the volunteer updates on Twitter @DCPolVolunteers
For more information about Volunteers’ Week please visit www.volunteersweek.org