Guest blog: Supporting volunteers across the OPCC and Wiltshire Police
I'm Sarah Holden, a Volunteer's Coordinator here at Wiltshire Police, since November 2014.
Day to day my role varies hugely, one minute I can be engaging with a potential volunteer that has registered an interest via our website another I will be engaging with the planning team to muster volunteers in a major incident exercise!
The role and my responsibilities have changed in the last four years and with the help of national guidelines and advice, I have been able to rewrite out of date policies and processes.
I really enjoy talking to potential volunteers and fitting their personal skills, experience and interests to roles that we have in force. The challenge, however, comes when we don't have anything that 'floats their boat'.
It is really interesting engaging with many departments around the Force, to have an understanding on how they operate and identifying opportunities for volunteers to add value to the work they do. There are so many benefits to having volunteers. More volunteers will create an even more diverse work force and they also give us a much greater understanding and insight about the needs of the community that we police day in day out.
For me this job role can give back in many ways. I get to meet diverse members of the community, enhance my communication skills and sometimes...it is just doing the right thing.
Being a volunteer can have huge values to the volunteers themselves; gaining new skills, knowledge and experience or developing their existing skills and knowledge, enhancing their CV's, gaining valuable references, the chance to meet new people, build confidence and self-esteem and make a difference to other people's lives.
Local volunteers with little or no police background can play an important role in promoting the Force, especially with the engagement roles. We currently have 166 Police Support Volunteers' ranging from areas such as Youth Engagement to Crime Reduction.
When it comes to volunteers and the demand for them, it is simply not spoken about. There are times where we are constantly evaluating what we must do verse what we would like to do.
With the help of volunteers we can tackle some of those underlying frustrations and improve our staff wellbeing in the process and assist in providing solutions to our ever stretched work force, with the help of volunteers.