Blunham Street Watch Launch Image Bedfordshire Police

Bedfordshire Police has highlighted the work of its volunteers and thanks them for their hard work during one of the most challenging years as it marks Volunteer’s Week, 1-7 June.

Volunteers provide a vital resource for Bedfordshire Police. The force relies on them to increase reassurance for residents across the county as well as support its policing teams.

Police staff volunteers help officers, detectives and staff with paperwork and other day to day tasks working in departments such as property stores, the tape library and the force’s cyber hub.

They also hold the information on the organisation’s history in the force museum and provide the Force’s chaplaincy service, on hand to support all staff through difficult times both connected to work or in their personal lives.

Chief Inspector Jenni McIntyre-Smith, people and workforce development lead, said:

“We can’t thank our volunteers enough and especially with the challenges of the past year. We have seen communities brought together with watch schemes and young people to continue to learn about being a productive member of society virtually.

“We would also like to give a big thank you to volunteers that work in our Signpost Hub and Police Support Volunteers, who unfortunately are unable to work with us with covid restrictions in place, but we look forward to welcoming them back in the near future.

“Our volunteers provide a unique contribution to the force whilst supporting their local community.”

Watch schemes

So far in 2021, the Street, Dog and Horse watch teams have dedicated a huge 1500 hours – with 377 sessions of activity monitoring speeding in hot spot areas. This not only helps deter speeding and help keep communities safe but it could also lead to targeted action against repeat offenders.

Dog Watch has also been introduced in Cardington, Ravensden and Caddington with Dunstable, Totternhoe and Marston Mortaine Dog Watch launching in next couple of weeks.

Dog Watch is a Bedfordshire Police community volunteering scheme. It is an initiative that encourages dog owners to be proactive and vigilant whilst walking their pets in their area.

Watch scheme co-ordinator, Juliet Wright, said:

“Despite the challenges, our watch scheme volunteers were raring to go and couldn’t wait to start making a difference to their area once restrictions lifted.

“There was so much interest in our watch schemes that we were able to launch seven new schemes in different areas of Bedfordshire including our brand-new scheme, dog watch. Watch schemes help deter criminal activity, feed information into officers and the council whilst providing a visible presence in the communities they cover.

“If you would like to volunteer with us through our various watch schemes or set up one near you, visit our website and contact us.”

Dog Watch launch Image Bedfordshire Police

Police cadets

The force’s younger volunteers, cadets, have been learning about policing and the impact they can make to their community virtually at home. However, this hasn’t stopped them from making an impact to Bedfordshire as some cadets have been recognised for their work in 2020.

Assistant cadet instructor Shabbar Raja was highly commended for the young volunteer of the year 2020. Assistant cadet instructor Bryn La Riviere received a High Sheriff reward for his hard work and championing cadets, as well as working with the mental health team with the Herbert Protocol.

Former assistant instructor, Mikey Johns, received the High Sheriff Award for his dedication to the cadets. He joined the cadets in 2016 and became a drill sergeant. He received cadet of the year in 2018 and continued his development by becoming a cadet instructor and inspiring the next generation.

The special constabulary have also made a huge impact on Bedfordshire communities, and the force, by volunteering over 15,130 hours since 2021. During these hours the volunteer officers have spent over 9,000 hours on patrols and made 37 arrests and issued 48 covid related fines.

If you would like to volunteer with the force or find out more visit the force’s website.