Volunteers make 'huge difference' to keeping Suffolk safe

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Steve Jupp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Steve Jupp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Volunteers Week took place at the start of this month and this gave the constabulary the opportunity to say a big “thank you” to all of our volunteers.

Over the past, exceptionally difficult, year volunteers have continued to make a huge difference to our communities in all walks of life both locally and nationally. For the constabulary volunteers include the Special Constabulary, Cadets and Police Staff Volunteers.

Our Specials have completed over 60,000 hours of voluntary policing since the start of lockdown on 23 March 2020.

I would like to pay a special thanks to all employers who allow their staff time off to work in the Special Constabulary.

More than 100 special constables have been praised for their knowledge, confidence and commitment

Suffolk's Special Constables make a 'huge difference' to their communities - Credit: Archant

The Suffolk Cadets have had to meet remotely but are now back for face-to-face meetings and are busy planning summer activities. The Police Support Volunteers, although many stood down during the lockdown, are now back in force.

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The mounted PSVs and local police volunteers continue to be the constabulary’s eyes and ears in the community, ensuring the public see a visual presence.

The constabulary is extremely lucky to have exceptional support from volunteers – these people give up their spare time to help keep the communities of Suffolk safe. They bring a wealth of skills, experience, enthusiasm and commitment, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for their continued support to the constabulary.  Not only should I thank all our volunteers, but also their families who support them in their roles.

Suffolk Constabulary launch the Special Constables on Horseback scheme at the Suffolk Show.

Suffolk Constabulary's Special Constables on horseback

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Recruitment lines are presently open for joining the Special Constabulary. Special Constables have the same police powers, uniforms and equipment as regular police officers but give up their free time on a voluntary basis, balancing personal lives, family, day jobs and commitments around police duties.

A Special in Suffolk is someone who will be valued, supported and integrated into the wider policing family. They’re someone who will learn new skills, see new things and make real differences to the lives of the public they proudly serve.

A Special in Suffolk is someone who makes new friends, sees life from new perspectives and upholds the law. A Special is someone who is proud to serve their county. Please do visit our website if you are interested in joining.

During the pandemic, like many people throughout the UK, a number of my staff have worked from home. As such we now have a Modern Workplace Programme which is looking at new ways of working going forwards. This is progressing well, with pilot activities in two departments looking at what equipment and space is required by each role to support agile working and testing of Modern Workplace products designed to help decision making and employee conversations on suitability of hybrid or home-working for each member of staff.

Lessons learned in this pilot will inform the Phase 2 department roll-outs due at the end of the summer. We also have an employee survey running which provides an opportunity to obtain up-to-date and new insights into experiences of working differently during the pandemic. Best practice and lessons learned will inform the continued Modern Workplace Programme.

You may recall I have previously mentioned the issue some of my officers have had to face whilst policing the pandemic – the awful act of being spat at by members of the public. I was pleased to see this month that two males have been jailed after spitting at officers. This is a truly disgusting thing to do and will not be tolerated.

I am delighted to confirm the temporary promotion of Eamonn Bridger as Assistant Chief Constable for the joint Suffolk/Norfolk Protective Services Command, which covers Cyber Crime, Intelligence, Serious and Organised Crime, Major Investigations, Forensics, Firearms, Dogs and Roads Policing.

Eamonn has been with the constabulary for 21 years, and has been a detective for more than 18 years working across a variety of roles. I should also add that Eamonn is a life-long Ipswich Town supporter!

We are continuing to prepare carefully for what we know will be a busy summer. Like everyone else, we are monitoring what happens after 21 June, as well as the local situation with Covid-19.

It will certainly be very different from last summer. The Euros have started and this has increased numbers of people gathering to watch matches. Suffolk’s population grows every year during the summer months, especially along the coast, and we will be ready for Suffolk being even fuller than usual this year. We are also providing support to UK wide policing events like G7. But we are prepared – and will be doing all we can to keep everyone safe.

Finally, today is Suffolk Day and I, my officers, and staff are proud to serve such a wonderful county. I hope everyone enjoys the day.

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