Local heroes who give up their time to help their communities were recognised at an annual South West regional award ceremony on Saturday 10th October.
This year’s event in Exeter brought together Special Constables and volunteers from the Avon and Somerset, Devon and Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and British Transport police services.
The Avon and Somerset Police winners were:
Ed is a Special Constable based at Radstock Police Station. Despite having less than 18 months service he has made such an impression on his colleagues that he was nominated five times for this award.
His nomination read:
“He has by far the highest number of hours worked by any Special Constable in Radstock and possibly the whole district."
Ed is often on duty alongside regular officers for several shifts in a row, putting in long hours – often over weekends, public holidays and during busy periods.”
Ed was praised for his enthusiasm, eagerness to learn, communication skills and for dealing with crime enquiries as well as difficult situations including a sudden death and a serious road collision. As well as giving us his time as a Special Constable, Ed volunteers with the Air Training Corps and with Great Western Ambulance service as a first responder – all while studying to become a paramedic.
The team includes Special Superintendent Nick Dixon, Special Chief Inspector Jo Belcher, Special Inspectors Steve Jones and Paul Saunders and Scott Crump, Special Constable Sharon Dudbridge and former Special Superintendent Richard Marsh, who is now a regular police officer.
The team formed in 2012 to support the learning and development of Special Constables.
The nomination read: “Everything the team does will improve the quality of service provided to the public. Members of the team perform their trainer role in addition to the Special Constabulary role they perform and in addition to their day job and all on a voluntary basis … They have maintained the commitment, dedication, hard work, reliability and enthusiasm … and things just keep going and improving.”
In order to qualify for the team, each member completed intensive ‘Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector’ and first aid trainers’ courses.
Roger is a volunteer caseworker with the Senior Citizen Liaison Team (SCLT) and leads the SCLT minority outreach team.
His role includes giving crime prevention presentations to older adults and especially supporting older people who may otherwise have difficulty accessing services.
His nomination read:
“Roger is without doubt the most committed and dedicated volunteer, thinking primarily of the welfare of others.”
Roger also gives his time as a charity trustee and to a volunteer radio station – on top of a day job as a front-line police constable.
Mark Bell, Gail Smythe and Martha Spikes are the main volunteer police cadet leaders for the East Somerset unit, based in Street.
They plan and lead the unit’s weekly activities as well as carrying out the routine administration tasks.
Their nomination read: “The unit … has provided a remarkable amount of support to local policing. The image they present of Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the shining example they set is inspiring.”
Since the unit was set up in November 2013 they have supported Farm Watch, won a Police and Crime Commissioner award for their support during the floods of 2013-14 and supported police teams at the Glastonbury Festival and Bath and West Show.
Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Crew, the force lead for volunteers and Special Constables, said:
“Our winners provide excellent examples of true public service. However, we ’re very proud of all our volunteers and special constabulary colleagues. They do an amazing job . They make a huge difference – helping us and helping our communities - by giving us their precious time.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said:
“Specials are both an important and valued aspect of policing, bringing a different type of dynamic and enthusiasm to police forces across the country. I fully admire and value the role Specials play in reducing the fear of crime by offering reassurance to residents, acting as a vital link between local communities and neighbourhood policing teams. I felt incredibly privileged to be asked to sit on the Avon and Somerset judging panel this year and hear of the work of so many dedicated and committed Special Constables. Furthermore I’d like to congratulate all of this year’s well-deserved winners.”