Avon and Somerset Police launched the volunteer driver scheme to improve the forces efficiency, by freeing up officers to be able to respond and prioritise work arriving in on shift.
Since its launch the scheme has saved the force almost 640 hours in officer and staff time, which equates to almost £10,000. Volunteers help with a range of tasks which officers or staff would normally be doing, but by having these essential volunteers they’re now free to focus on providing the best level of service to the public, allowing them to better prioritise
This month the scheme is looking for new volunteers in the Bridgewater.
Atul tells us what the role is like and why he chose to give up his free time to Avon and Somerset Police, and why others should consider the force as their new volunteer role.
Why did you decide to volunteer for Avon and Somerset police?
I wanted to give back to the community and help local police. Police are so overstretched and working with tight budgets, so I felt offering my time up to would be worthwhile and help free officers or staff up to be able to better prioritise their work. As a member of Institute of Advance Motorist (IAM) and an Observer for the Bristol Group of IAM, I feel confident to drive police officer around and put my skills in good use
Did you have any other organisations in mind when you were deciding to become a volunteer?
I have volunteered in the past, but this time round I was looking for something which would put my driving skills and experience to good use.
Did you look at any other roles here before deciding on the volunteer driver role?
I did look at other roles within Avon and Somerset Police however as Retired Senior Engineer from Rolls-Royce, I did not want to get stuck in the office and I was not prepared to have any contact with public until the job description of volunteer driver caught my eye.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer driver?
I enjoy driving and in control of organising on-going schedules of that day. Meeting different people every time, talking about their role in the force and listening to their interesting stories and experiences.
Is the role what you expected it would be?
The role of Driver Service was as expected but I would like to drive different types of cars. I am also on an official list to drive minibus (category C1 & D1) whenever needed and looking forward to these challenges.
What do you do outside of your volunteering role?
I volunteer two days (Tuesdays & Thursdays) at Rolls-Royce Heritage Trust where we build engines (from old piston to present day jet engine) for exhibition purpose. Mondays & Fridays are my sports & Gym days and in between I have taken up a new skill in woodturning in the past 3 years. In woodturning I have been awarded trophies in 2018 as a ‘Woodturner of the Year’ and ‘Most Improved Woodturner’ from Avon and Bristol Woodturner.
What would you say to anyone thinking about becoming a volunteer driver?
If one enjoys driving, then I would certainly recommend as I have found out that how much people using the service appreciate and the smile you get from these people is more than enough. This is also one way to visit most of the Avon and Somerset Police Stations behind the normal reception desk.
To find out more about our Volunteer Driver roles visit our website to apply.