Thank You To All Volunteers

National Volunteers’ Week celebrates the wonderful contribution of volunteers across Britain and is an ideal opportunity to thank volunteers for the hard work they have delivered over the last year.

This week they are showcasing some great volunteers and their contribution whether they are Special Constables, police staff volunteers or cadets on the force Facebook and Twitter accounts. Do follow and find out more from the volunteers themselves.

Stephen O’Connell is an award-winning volunteer. As a Community Speedwatch (CSW) volunteer, he is motivated by a desire to save lives. He started out on his local streets in Seaford. But six years on, Stephen has made an impact county-wide, having trained a network of over 1,000 CSW volunteers across Sussex. In that time Sussex has seen an 8 percent drop in recorded speeding violations in that period.

At the same time Stephen’s training of the CSW volunteers ensures that motorists who are stopped are treated fairly and with respect at the roadside.

His approach, which is being replicated by other forces, recently earned Stephen a commendation from Chief Constable, Giles York, and he was presented with a Lord Ferrers Award for volunteering in policing in 2018.

Stephen, who will soon be joining us in a staff role, shares what drives him: “I find volunteering very rewarding. It’s been a great way to use my HR and management experience and skills to make a real difference to communities.

“But the greatest reward is knowing I am helping to reduce death and injuries on the roads of Sussex.”

Special Constable Julie Rainey has a busy full-time job as regional communications manager for the RNLI, but that doesn’t stop her devoting her weekends to volunteering with us.

She plays an active role in our specialist Safeguarding Investigations Unit, protecting the most vulnerable individuals from harm and exploitation. Having worked for the National Crime Agency and HMIC, Julie brings valuable knowledge. Her dedication to ‘going above and beyond’ in this demanding role recently won her an award for services to public protection.

“To be able to support victims at what is often the most difficult time of their life is a genuine privilege,” reflects Julie.

“Volunteering in policing has given me a much greater understanding of the lives of other people,” says Julie. “You come to realise both how fortunate you are and also how difficult life can be.”

As well as working a seven day week, Julie finds time to run, cycle and swim in the sea every morning.

“Our lives are pretty short in the grand scheme of things,” says Julie, “And I’m keen to do as many useful and interesting things as I can, while I can.”

“I strongly recommend finding the time to volunteer. Being part of something bigger which ties you to your community is a great feeling. Do it!”

Volunteer Week is also an opportunity to celebrate the 190 police cadets.

This year we say a special thank you to Brighton teenager Emily Mabbott, who, as cadet to the High Sheriff of East Sussex 2018-2019, served as an excellent youth ambassador for the police.

She took on the role, age 18, while still doing her A’ Levels and working part-time in a supermarket. Joining former High Sheriff, Major General John Moore-Bick, she supported community groups and emergency services, as well as representing Sussex in Remembrance Day celebrations.

She is now looking forward to starting university in September, having passed on the role to successor, Jamal Chanlewis, in March.

“I strongly recommend volunteering! Meeting volunteers with homeless charities, I saw how well respected and appreciated they were by the street community.

“Being a cadet has helped my self confidence and communication skills and given me invaluable insight with how to deal with people.”

They are also offering new ways for volunteers to work with them as they modernise policing to meet the changing nature of crime. Their online fraud expert, PC Bernie Lawrie, is looking for fraud prevention assistants for a new pilot project throughout West Sussex.
Volunteers will receive training, including in cyber crime and will help protect non-vulnerable fraud victims from further fraud.

Potential candidates can find out more here.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick May said: “How we work with our Special Constables and police staff volunteers has evolved over the years as the force continues to modernise. We are making the most of the skills they bring by expanding the types of duties and policing areas in which they work with us, such as economic crime, where volunteers can assist us as we respond to the changing nature of fraud.

“Our volunteers provide another layer of resilience and enhance the roles of our police officers and staff for the benefit of members of the community, as public service is at the heart of what we do.

“Police staff volunteers work with our teams, allowing our front line officers to concentrate on their core duties. These roles include custody van drivers, CCTV viewers looking for obstructions, Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub administrators and those involved in dog training and major incident training.

“Our Special Constabulary work alongside our Prevention and Response teams but also in some of our specialist teams capitalising on their existing skills. We have a number of Special Constables working within our tutoring teams as mentors and assessors and a number dedicated to working on public order operations.

“It’s about using a person’s skills in the best way to enhance the service we give to the public.