Specials and volunteers honoured at Citizens in Policing Regional Awards 2020
The exceptional efforts of Avon and Somerset’s specials and volunteers have been recognised at the Citizens in Policing Regional Awards 2020.
The force won in three out of five award categories which recognise the invaluable contributions of volunteer officers across the South West: Special Constabulary Team of the Year, Police Support Volunteer of the Year, and Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year.
Our winners were a police support volunteer who implemented a policing framework to support those in a particularly disadvantaged community; a volunteer team that has catapulted Avon and Somerset Police to the top of the list in terms of diversity, and a team of special constables that dealt with community tension at a time of high operational demand during COVID-19.
Chief Constable Andy Marsh said:
“2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges for policing, placing an exceptional demand on our services. The efforts of those who donate their free time to us as volunteers and special constables have been crucial to maintaining positive relationships with the communities we serve and keeping the communities of Avon and Somerset safe.
“I’d like to offer my congratulations and thanks to our deserving regional winners, who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to policing under the toughest of circumstances, implementing pioneering initiatives, developing strategic operations, and executing demanding tasks.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said:
“This much-deserved recognition of our policing volunteers at a regional level is testament to their enduring commitment and dedication to safeguarding our communities during these challenging times.
“I’d like to say a huge congratulations to our 2020 winners and to thank them for the inspirational work they do.”
The winners of the regional awards were:
Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year Award:
The Black Police Association Outreach Volunteers Team was awarded for their ground-breaking work in building strong and lasting relationships with harder-to-reach communities. Through a wide range of outreach initiatives the team has played a central role in helping to create a more diverse and representative police force. They have worked tirelessly, giving up their time to promote our force values, breaking down barriers and myths, and building confidence in the police. They have achieved this by engaging with young people from different backgrounds, assisting in the launch of the interactive ‘knife workshops’, and attending community events at colleges and universities to secure the interest of future officers and staff.
Police Support Volunteer of the Year Award:
Bronwen Bishop was awarded for her role in spearheading positive socio-economic changes in one of the most deprived parts of the UK. Bronwen is a One Team Strategic Support Volunteers for the Bournville and Oldmixon One Team. When she joined the force in 2017, Bronwen conducted a review of the way the team was engaging with key stakeholders and managing vulnerability in the community. Bronwen went on to develop and deliver an effective multiagency approach to solve complex societal issues, which has led to a reduction of repeat referrals, an increase in local community engagement, and the introduction of a dental hygiene programme for children. Brownen has driven pioneering work in this area, working tirelessly to provide a strategic direction for the team, and engaging in a positive way with local partners and residents.
Special Constabulary Team of the Year Award:
The West Somerset team of specials for playing a significant role in managing the ongoing and complex issue of car meets in Cheddar Gorge. Large-scale care meets have been increasing common at the gorge, attracting 300 to 500 people, which attract up to 500 vehicles (often high performance), at a time and cause significant disruption to local communities. Since the easing of lockdown measures, the west Somerset team has doubled efforts to tackle the issue independently managing operations, targeting those committing crimes and reassuring the public.
Their handling of the first weekend lockdown ended showcases the exemplary work of the team. An unexpected car meet with an excess of 400 vehicles arrived that weekend, at a time when operational demand was high, the neighbourhood team was stretched beyond capacity, and an influx of day-trippers were visiting the gorge. The special independently managed the closure of the road, implemented dispersal orders, and successfully ensured all vehicles were removed safely. They also worked hard to diffuse tension in the community and keep a vast number of pedestrians safe. The specials team have taken a proactive and front-seat approach to tackling the issue of car-meets head on and have played a key role in managing community tensions and improving confidence in policing.
Interested in becoming a volunteer?
Put your talents and experience to good use by volunteering with us. You will join a 300-strong volunteering community whose contribution complements the duties performed by our uniformed and paid staff. Being a special constable is both exciting and rewarding and, for many, it is a life-changing decision. Regardless of your role, your support will help to make Avon and Somerset a safer place to live, work and visit.