Not just ‘policing on the cheap’: chief constable defends use of volunteers
- Credit: Rachel Edge
I’d like to thank all those people who attended our stand at the Suffolk Show. It was a great opportunity for us to listen to you and understand what’s important to you from a policing perspective.
Hearing your feedback on our display and seeing the smiles and laughter of the children who participated in the events was truly heart-warming. What struck me though from the time I spent at the Suffolk Show were the powerful messages of volunteering from people who give up their time freely to support such a wide range of activities that are so important to the fabric of our society.
From a blue light and particularly a policing point of view, I would like to recognise and thank all of those that support Suffolk Constabulary.
I know there has been much comment nationally regarding the use of volunteers and whether this is just "policing on the cheap", but I would question that view based on the thoughts and feedback of those that support us in the constabulary.
It was fantastic to see David Overton, our longest serving volunteer, recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
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David is a police support volunteer from Bury St Edmunds and was given a British Empire Medal for 52 years' of voluntary work.
I know David would share with me that this personal award is a reflection of all of those who dedicate their own free time.
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Many volunteers go on to join us in a permanent capacity and equally the skills and knowledge they have enriches us as organisation.
We are always looking here in Suffolk Constabulary to bring new talent into your police force.
We are holding recruitment events this Friday, June 21, and on Friday, June 28, at police headquarters, Martlesham. These will be an insightful evening where we will showcase the various departments we have and then discuss with you how you may wish to join us. Please see our website for full details.
Some of the officers who will be at the recruitment event will recently have been involved in Suffolk Constabulary's part in the national week of action against the ongoing threat of "county lines".
This was a successful week for us where over 20 arrests were made for a variety of offences right across the county which helped disrupt a number of criminal networks.
I want to reassure you that, although this was a national week of action, this is a priority for me and we will keep up the fight against those that commit crime and cause such misery in our communities.
Another good example of your officers' professionalism was the conviction of Ajay Rana at Ipswich Crown Court at the beginning of this month in relation to a rape which occurred over 18 months ago.
The 35-year-old was jailed for seven years. This was a complex investigation where the suspect was identified and caught living outside of the United Kingdom. Although I mention two examples here, I could mention many more. I do this because I want to highlight to you that your officers are dedicated and committed to catching and convicting criminals.
One of the real pleasures of being the chief constable is seeing the results that your officers achieve, equally ensuring that as a constabulary we continue to improve, modernise and use your money wisely.
We are fast approaching the summer, although it may not have felt like it so far this month, where our beautiful county sees a huge influx of tourists.
This puts a different demand on us than we see throughout the rest of the year. There are such an amazing variety of events that take place throughout Suffolk in July and August and, like the Suffolk Show, we want to use these to engage as much as possible.
We have invested in some new technologies within our control room to ensure we get to you when you really need us, but also to modernise how you can contact us.
Can I please encourage you, like in many other walks of life now, to use our online facilities in a non-emergency situation that enables us continue to be as proactive as a constabulary as we can.
In my next article I want to share more with you about how we have invested the money from the rise in precept, and how this will influence the direction of travel of the constabulary.