Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, hosted his second SAFER awards on International Volunteers Day (Wednesday 5 December). The event celebrated the vital role volunteers play in supporting policing and the community.
Volunteers were recognised in 12 categories, which for the first time included a Safer Superhero Award for children to recognise the contribution even the youngest can make to keep their peers safer, and a Commissioned Partner of the Year Award to recognise outstanding volunteers in the services funded by the Commissioner.
Michael Lane said: “It is important that we take the time to recognise and thank volunteers for their contribution and commitment to building resilient communities.
“More than ever before we are relying on communities to play an active and prominent role in keeping themselves SAFER, and to work in true partnership with public, private and third sector organisations.
“Volunteers really matter, they help us to connect with the community, and the value that they add to the work of the Constabulary and partners is enormous. Without them we would not be able to deliver all that we do to keep our communities safer.
“Although those present at the awards were only a small group representing so many more who give their time freely and with dedication every single day, the aim of the SAFER awards was to ensure that the time, motivation and energy of those volunteers that work with us was recognised and that they received our thanks for all that they do to enhance the effectiveness of policing across our area.”
Guests at the awards included representatives from a number of volunteer groups, such as Specials, Police Volunteer Support, Victim Support, Independent Custody Visitors, Youth Commission, Community Court, Neighbourhood Watch and Community Speedwatch.
The following awards were given to recognise those volunteers that had made an outstanding contribution over the last year, and went above and beyond in terms of the hours they have volunteered and the dedication and commitment they have shown.
Police Support Volunteer of the Year – Carole Godfrey
Carole has been supporting the Community Speedwatch Scheme in the North of Hampshire for more than eight years. She also supports the Tadley Neighbourhood Policing Team with administrative duties, a much appreciated contribution to this small rural team. Carole’s contribution gives the Community Speedwatch groups an excellent service. The co-ordinators appreciate her efficient and prompt updates and responses to their questions. Her work also frees up the time of the officers and police staff who would have to take on this role if she wasn’t volunteering for Hampshire Constabulary.
Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year – Basingstoke Community Court
The Community Court in Basingstoke was created to have a positive impact on the way young people who had committed first time offences were dealt with. As an alternative to placing them into the Criminal Justice process, the community court helps the young people to take responsibility for their actions – they understand how their actions have wider consequences to the victim, community and their own family, and get an opportunity to begin to repair the harm they have caused. The victim is given a voice and greater involvement in the police process. Basingstoke Community Court went live in June 2016 and has now been operating for 2 years. In that time, they have heard in excess of 100 cases. The court is staffed on average by 12 volunteers aged 14 – 25 years of age, with each hearing requiring at least 5 volunteers per night. This is a minimum of 500 hours volunteered, but in reality, the number will be much higher depending on the number of available volunteers. All the volunteers are balancing work or school to assist Hampshire Constabulary to deliver this innovative project to the public.
Special Constable of the Year – Acting Specials Sergeant Rosemary Shapiro
Rosemary has spearheaded the introduction of Special Constables into the Northern Police Investigation Centre, as well as at a Force wide level across the whole of the Investigation Command. This was previously unchartered territory for Special Constables for a number of reasons, but primarily because it was considered too complex and difficult to set up. Rosemary did not let this deter her. “Enthusiastic”, “positive”, “always willing to help”, “determined” and “hardworking” are just some of the ways her fellow team members describe Rosemary. There is no doubt she has contributed positively to Investigations and the Special Constabulary, but also to the Force and the victims she serves.
Special Constabulary Team of the Year – Special Constabulary Search Team
High risk missing people are one of the top priorities for Hampshire Constabulary. However, these incidents and the resources involved impact on the provision of business-as-usual policing. This impact was identified by tonight’s award winners and, after the completion of some initial ground work, they commenced their initial training in January 2017. This enabled them to be called out to assist with searches – they were the first collaborative Police Search team in the UK. Since their formation, the team have been called upon to attend over 50 incidents and have contributed over 1,192 hours to this task. The dedication and tireless as efforts of the team has significantly contributed to the support of missing person incidents.
Safer Superhero Award – William Boxer and Freddie Taw (Bosmere School)
William and Freddie have delivered 60 lessons across Bosmere Junior on e-safety as part of the Commissioner’s Cyber Ambassador scheme, having attended training and then adapting a series of lessons to work most effectively for their school. They have given up their golden time and singing time to be able to do this, such is their dedication to the project. They have also sent messages and resources to parents to promote e-safety. Going forward, they will deliver the lessons to the new Year Three pupils, and train two new cyber ambassadors to ensure the scheme can continue and expand in the future.
Community Volunteer of the Year – Dominic Pearce
Dominic, or Dom as he is more commonly known, volunteers weekly at Eastleigh Borough Council’s Friday Night Football project at Botley Recreation Ground. The project’s primary aim is to reduce anti-social behaviour, and Dom has been attending as a participant since he was 14. The project is open to 10 – 19 year olds, so when Dom turned 20 in December 2017, he was desperate to still be involved in the project and expressed an interest in volunteering. He has been mentored by Botley lead coach Rich Searle, who has expressed how Dom’s commitment has set a positive example amongst his peers and the young people who engage in the project. The project has awakened Dom’s passion for coaching who, with funding from Eastleigh Borough Council and the Hampshire FA, completed a Level 1 FA qualification in July 2018. Dom has delivered over 110 hours of volunteering to the project in 2018, and is dedicated, professional and a great role model to young people.
Outstanding Support to a Victim Award – Michael Bennett
Michael has been a volunteer with Victim Support for 12 years. He always exceeds expectations and has remained consistent and reliable in supporting clients with compassion, problem solving skills and empathy, a strong example of the Victim Support ethos. Michael is trained in supporting victims who have experienced Domestic Abuse, Hate Crime, Sexual Violence, Anti-Social Behaviour and Road Traffic Collisions. As well as attending the office weekly to contact victims, he is an active Victim Care Service Ambassador, attending a large number of events organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office across Hampshire to highlight and promote the service available to people affected by crime. Michael works closely with staff members to engage fully with the community at these events, sharing his knowledge and experience.
Commissioned Partner of the Year – Annette Lester
Annette became an Age UK Isle of Wight volunteer in 2016. She brought with her a lifetime’s worth of experience in education, probation and working with young people. She was immediately attracted to the Restorative Justice Project hosted at Age UK Isle of Wight and funded by the PCC. She became a volunteer practitioner, giving up her time to undertake training, and she made herself available almost immediately for case work.
Annette is also a police volunteer and spends a day a week assisting with admin tasks at Newport Police Station. Annette is the personification of an ideal volunteer. She is an unsung hero and never seeks recognition for what she does. Her contribution to the PCC Restorative Justice Project on the Island has been described as nothing short of outstanding.
Special Recognition Award – Adrian Hughes
Adrian not only volunteers for the Victim Care Service, which he has done for the past 18 months, but he also volunteers for Restorative Solutions, which he has done for the past 2 years.
In his work for the Victim Care Service, Adrian has supported 58 victims affected by a variety of crimes. Adrian has become a volunteer mentor for new, less experienced volunteers and assisted with the selection and training of them, and has supported Victim Support staff with community engagement events.
He has been volunteering for Restorative Solutions as a Restorative Justice (RJ) Practitioner for approximately two years. He has undertaken all of the professional training required in his Restorative Justice volunteering role, including the three-day RJ Practitioners training, Serious & Complex Case training and Safeguarding Training. He is exceptionally reliable and recent feedback from a service user commended his ‘professional and supportive approach’.
Neighbourhood Watch Volunteer of the Year – Karin Luker
Karin has for many years established and supported 80 schemes covering the Horndean area. She is totally focused on keeping her community safe and encourages active participation. Co-ordinators readily share incidents and advice, which in turn provides excellent material for the weekly bulletins. She has also recently become a Village Agent to maximise partnership working and signposting opportunities.
Her desire to do more for her vulnerable residents and the homeless demonstrates that Karin exemplifies the Neighbourhood Watch mantra that ‘crime cannot flourish in a community that cares’. Karin is an ‘unsung hero’ – her dedication to her community a shining example to us all.
Independent Custody Visitor of the Year – Kieran O’Kelly
Kieran has served as an Independent Custody Visitor for almost 15 years. During this time Kieran has checked on the welfare and wellbeing of thousands of detainees in Hampshire Constabulary Custody to ensure that they are being treated fairly and humanely, and to check that the conditions in custody blocks are maintained to the required standard.
There have been many changes to independent custody visiting during Kieran’s service, and he has demonstrated flexibility and a willingness to adapt to the needs of the organisation, particularly when the new Police Investigation Centre and 36 cell custody suite was opened in the north of the county. He has covered extra visits, often at short notice, and helped to train new recruits. Kieran is a volunteer who gives his time and energy selflessly to Independent Custody Visiting and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. Without his knowledge and experience, the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme would not be able to uphold the high standards of visiting that are apparent in the North of Hampshire.
Youth Commission Volunteer (joint award) – Alison Romanie and Sophie Smith
Alison and Sophie have been members of the Youth Commission for nearly three years, and in that time have consulted with many hundreds of young people. Their confidence in approaching their peers and engaging them in the Youth Commission’s ‘Big Conversation’ is to be admired.
They have volunteered at countless events and have thrown themselves into every opportunity they have been offered. Both members have dedicated themselves to the Cyber Safety priority, surveying young people about their top internet concerns, designing the GoFISH campaign to encourage young people to be safe online, and taking it into secondary schools and youth groups.
Not content with that success, they have also worked on the Cyber Ambassadors project, developing the programme, delivering training to students, and nurturing it to a point where there is now a dedicated Cyber Ambassadors project co-ordinator in place to roll it out to more schools, meaning they leave an inspiring legacy behind them.