The dedication and commitment shown by those who volunteer to support their communities was recognised on the 18 June at our annual Citizens in Policing awards ceremony.
Winners were announced across seven categories with awards for special constables, those who volunteer in support roles and an award for the Citizens in Policing Ambassador of the Year.
The atmosphere was one of gratitude for the incredible support volunteers provide to policing as the winners were presented their awards by Chief Constable Sarah Crew and Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford.
Chief Constable Sarah Crew said: “Volunteers join us for many reasons from wanting to use their professional skills to benefit others, building community links, collecting evidence for their CV and learning new skills. Undoubtedly, making a difference and feeling part of a team is a huge draw for many of our volunteers and special constables; and their involvement means we can do more. Last year, our special constables gave over 80,000 hours – equivalent to an extra 35 full time paid officers – and our police support volunteers gave 12,000 hours. We’re so thankful they choose to support us and our communities.”
Across Avon and Somerset there are 300 special constables, 200 police support volunteers, 110 police cadets and 38 primary schools involved in the Mini police programme. Every one of these individuals is completing tasks that help police officers to focus on other parts of their roles or delivering a service that the police would not otherwise be able to offer the public.
Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Shelford joined Sarah Crew to give out the awards: “I’m so grateful for every volunteer who gives up their time to help keep our communities safer. It’s inspirational to hear how our volunteers go out of their way to support our communities. Thank you to all those who volunteer their time and skills.”
This year’s winners will be put forward to represent Avon and Somerset Police at the Citizens in Policing Awards for the South West region.
If you would like to put your talents and experience to good use by volunteering for the police, you can view all the current volunteering opportunities and find out more information at Volunteer with us | Avon and Somerset Police
This year’s award winners…
Special Constable of the Year
Ron was recognised as Special Constable of the Year for his dedication to policing.
Neighbourhood Inspector Graeme Hall said: “Ron is a really valued member of the Weston Town centre neighbourhood team. He is well liked by the team, partners and the public alike. The night-time economy in Weston-super-Mare is challenging to police and his presence often makes a significant difference to our ability to respond to incidents and provide a safe environment for members of the public. I’m grateful for the time, effort, energy and enthusiasm Ron brings.”
Special Supervisor of the Year
Lee has been a special constable since September 2016 and has held various ranked roles since 2018. He is currently Special Inspector for Somerset West (Bridgwater and Williton) and has voluntarily covered the vacant Special Inspector role for Taunton since autumn 2021. Lee is widely regarded as a model of best practice of the special inspector role and has shown many examples of excellent work. In addition to investing more than 250 hours last year in the leadership and management of his team and related management duties, Lee remains a hugely committed operational special constable, completing 200 hours of operational duties last year.
Special Constable Progression of the Year
The winner has been a special constable for over three years. They come away from each job having reflected and consistently improving each time. They provide a fantastic service to the public and are an absolute credit to their team.
Special Constable Team of the Year
The Somerset West team of special constables have continuously and without fail been instrumental in promoting proactive frontline policing and supporting their police officer colleagues in Neighbourhoods and Response across West Somerset. The team are led by Special Inspector Lee Gadd, Special Sergeant Tara Howard, Special Sergeant Martyn Callow and Special Sergeant Simon Bale who selflessly work hard to develop their team and provide an excellent service for their community.
Police Support Volunteer of the Year
Dee supports the learning department and is a police cadet leader. Dee has kept the 22-strong police cadet unit in South Gloucestershire going throughout Covid and beyond.
Jon Nash, Neighbourhood Inspector said: “Dee empowers young people in South Gloucestershire, by giving them opportunities to make a difference in their communities and beyond. We need the voice of young people to inform everything we do in policing, and Dee makes it possible for us in South Gloucestershire. We’re grateful to Dee and all our volunteer cadet leaders across our areas.”
Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year
The History and Heritage Group is operated by volunteers. They have spent the past 12 months developing and designing a museum at the police headquarters to present and protect the history of the police service.
Citizens in Policing Ambassador of the Year
Chief Inspector Sharon Baker is an advocate for volunteers and has supported Bronwen, in their role as a Strategic One Team Volunteer, for almost five years. They have worked together on the issue of patients missing from hospital.
Bronwen said: “Sharon’s approach [to working with me as a volunteer] clearly demonstrated to others the value that she placed on my alternative experience, skills and knowledge, with the result that police officers and inspectors with whom I interacted on this work treated me as an equal, as a The outcome of our work together has been an almost 30 per cent reduction in resource hours spent at scene and in the cost of officers at scene. Sharon has worked tirelessly to ensure that I feel, as a volunteer, a genuinely valued member of the police family.”