Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner celebrates Volunteers’ Week

31/05/2013

The Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner’s pledge to increase and encourage volunteering inSussexis being realised as Volunteers’ Week approaches (1-7 June). The Commissioner’s office manages a scheme where vetted, trained, independent volunteers visit detainees held in Sussex Police Custody. The same volunteers also make spot-check visits to the Force’s CCTV suites to ensure the correct use is being made of public space CCTV in the county. The Sussex Independent Custody Visiting Scheme was recently accredited with an Investing in Volunteers award, one of the first in the country.

“I am pleased to have recently welcomed a new intake of volunteers to our Independent Custody Visiting scheme. The role these volunteers undertake is vitally important and should help the public feel reassured that there is independent oversight of detainees’ welfare and the conditions in which they are kept in police custody in Sussex. The time given up freely by our 70+ strong volunteers is not to be underestimated. In the past six months they have completed nearly a hundred custody visits and have seen 365 detainees.

“This scheme is just a small part of the great variety of volunteering roles that exist in the Criminal Justice System. I would like to pay tribute to all volunteers who help make Sussex a safer place to live and would encourage as many people as possible who can spare some time to volunteer for the community they live in.”

A recent survey on the PCC’s website showed that the area where most people would like to see further development in volunteering is in services for victims, for example victim, witness and offender support volunteers and youth offender panel members.

Commenting on this, Katy Bourne said: “I am pleased that a commitment to victim services through volunteering is something that our poll has shown is important to people inSussex. As well as developing and encouraging volunteering in many aspects of the criminal justice system I am especially committed to working with the voluntary sector to identify the best ways in which we can support victims and witnesses, something that is specifically highlighted in my Police & Crime Plan.

“Another major element demonstrating my commitment to increasing and encouraging volunteering is through my promise to increase the number of Specials serving in Sussex Police. This pledge is something I was elected to do and a new cohort of Specials is starting their training in July with further recruitment taking place later in the year.”

There are over 4,200 organisations in the voluntary and community sector acrossSussex, which engage the skills over 25,000 people and the Neighbourhood Watch movement, making a contribution of £972m to the local economy. The Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner has set out in her Police & Crime Plan that she will work in partnership with the voluntary and community sector to better understand the ‘social value’ that is provided by non-profit organisations over and above what is directly paid for when delivering services.

Volunteers come from all walks of life, with a range of skills and life experiences. If you are interested in volunteering for the Police & Crime Commissioner visit http://www.sussex-pcc.gov.uk/get-involved/volunteers/ or to volunteer for Sussex Police visit http://www.sussex.police.uk/policing-in-sussex/work-with-us/volunteers/

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