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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Celebrating our award winning special constables and volunteers

Group picture of West Somerset Specials, Special Constabulary Team of the Year Award
Group picture of West Somerset Specials, Special Constabulary Team of the Year Award

Award winning special constables and volunteers from Avon and Somerset Police have been formally recognised for their exceptional contributions to policing, after securing three accolades at the Citizen in Policing Regional Awards 2020. The presentation of these awards was delayed due to coronavirus. The awards acknowledge the invaluable contributions of police volunteers across the South West.

Our winners would usually attend a regional awards ceremony, however that has not been possible because of coronavirus. Instead, they were presented with their awards at a socially distanced ceremony attended by Temporary Chief Constable, Sarah Crew and Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford at Avon and Somerset Police headquarters in Portishead on Saturday 24 July.

The 18 special constables and volunteers faced strong competition from across the region to win three out of the five award categories.

  • Police Support Team of the Year – Black Police Association Outreach Volunteers
  • Special Constabulary Team of the Year – West Somerset Special Constables
  • Police Support Volunteer of the Year – Bronwen Bishop

Volunteer team builds relationships that make a difference

The Black Police Association Outreach Volunteers team was awarded the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year Award for their ground-breaking work in building strong and lasting relationships with communities.

They’ve played a central role in helping to create a more diverse and representative police force by delivering a wide range of outreach activities.

The team worked tirelessly, giving up their time to promote our force values, breaking down barriers and myths, and building confidence in the police.

They’ve also been engaging with young people from different backgrounds, helping to launch the interactive ‘knife workshops’, and attending community events at colleges and universities to secure the interest of future officers and staff.

The team, coordinated by Kermal Singh, General Secretary of the Black Police Association (BPA), who was recently awarded an MBE for services to policing and diverse communities, are: Tinotenda Mushongah; Kindman Tang; Kavita Kaur; Simranjeet Kaur; Edward Stargatt; Andra Serbanescu; Kishore Narain; and Ikran Osman.

Representatives from The Black Police Association Outreach Volunteers team who were awarded the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year Award
Representatives from The Black Police Association Outreach Volunteers team who were awarded the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year Award

Specials easing community tension and keeping people safe

Specials have been a key part of the policing response to COVID-19 – no more so than our West Somerset team who won the Special Constabulary Team of the Year Award. They played a significant role in managing illegal car meets in Cheddar Gorge which can cause significant disruption to local communities. They increased efforts to tackle the issue, independently managing operations, targeting those committing crimes and reassuring our communities.

This was illustrated by the way the team handled an unexpected car meet of over 400 vehicles on the weekend after the first lockdown ended. This was a time when operational demand was high, the neighbourhood policing team was stretched beyond capacity, and an influx of day-trippers were visiting the gorge.

Our specials independently managed the road closure, implemented dispersal orders and made sure all vehicles were removed safely. They also worked hard to diffuse tension in the community and keep a vast number of pedestrians safe. The team has taken a proactive approach to tackling the issue of car meets and played a key role in managing community concerns and improving confidence in policing.

The team are: Special Chief Inspector Ryan Kennedy, Special Inspector Lee Gadd, Special Sergeant Tara Howard, Special Sergeant Christopher Rees; Special Sergeant Martyn Callow; Special Constable Ian Luckhurst; (Former) Special Sergeant Timothy Stride; Special Sergeant Thomas Eaton; Special Constable Nicholas Genge; Special Constable Matthew Carter; Special Constable Paul Chamberlain; Special Inspector Jordan Howe; and Special Constable Adam Hann.

 

Group picture of West Somerset Specials, Special Constabulary Team of the Year Award
Group picture of West Somerset Specials, Special Constabulary Team of the Year Award

Positive community engagement that gets results

Bronwen Bishop won the Police Support Volunteer of the Year Award 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 Volunteer for the Bournville and Oldmixon One Team. When she joined the force in 2017, Bronwen reviewed the way the team was engaging with key stakeholders and managing vulnerability in the community.

She went on to develop and deliver an effective multiagency approach to solve complex societal issues, which led to a reduction of repeat referrals, an increase in local community engagement, and the introduction of a dental hygiene programme for children.

Bronwen 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.

Bronwen Bishop who won Police Support Volunteer of the Year Award
Bronwen Bishop who won Police Support Volunteer of the Year Award

Something to be proud of

Responding to the awards win, Temporary Chief Constable Sarah Crew said: ““I’d like to congratulate our regional winners and offer my thanks to them, for their unwavering commitment to policing under the toughest of circumstances. I would also like to extend my thanks to all our volunteers and special constables for their continued support in what’s been an unprecedented 18 months, which has placed 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.

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford 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.”

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