Joint service volunteers break new ground

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At a regional meeting held this week Humberside Police and Humberside Fire and Rescue Service the Humberside team have outlined the next phase to other police and fire services from across the north of England who are keen to learn from their innovative approach to using Community Safety Volunteers.

Community Safety Volunteers were introduced into Humberside Fire and Rescue in January 2013, just five years after the Police Volunteer support scheme was first established. Since then, volunteers have developed into a resource, supporting key areas of both organisations, including home and fire safety support, local police initiatives and engaging with communities.

here are many reasons why individuals are motivated to volunteer, including keeping the mind and body active after retirement, giving something back to the community or exploring a new career path by learning new skills. Volunteers are used to assist and enhance the help given by both emergency services and are never used to replace paid members of staff.

More Community Safety Volunteers are now required to broaden their scope to assist in supporting members of the public who have had an incident attended by the Fire Service. Volunteers will be asked to telephone people from a central hub to check on their welfare after the incident and also to give any other related advice such as crime prevention. Confidence and fluency on the telephone, with some basic computer skills to input any information are the core skills required.

The volunteers will be needed on evenings and weekends and full support and training will be given.

Head of Community Safety at Humberside Fire and Rescue Service Allen Cunningham believes the additional resource will be a massive benefit to the community:

“This joined up approach in how we utilise volunteers is leading the way nationally.

We have had two successful years of Community Safety Volunteers and are looking forward to breaking more new ground with the post incident telephone welfare checks. There are also plans to get volunteers into the heart of the community and act as the first point of contact with vulnerable people who may not be currently on our radar.”

Adil Khan, Head of Youth and Community Cohesion at Humberside Police also sees the value in the scheme:

“Our Volunteers come from all walks of life and all parts of our communities.

They bring all the richness of their life experiences to both our services, providing great benefits and value which in turn enhance service delivery.

With increasing workloads and targets we need to capture and embrace their life skills and ensure that they assist us to reach our goals in community safety and security.”

Joy Harvie from Humberside Police’s Community Safety Unit manages the volunteers and is excited about the new approach: “Since the introduction of the joint service volunteers, I have been greatly impressed by their commitment, flexibility and enthusiasm for their roles. They are a valuable asset to both the police and fire service and actively contribute to the day to day work we undertake.

They remove a significant amount of administrative burden and provide an excellent service to the public at our community events. Their welfare calls will give greater reassurance to those who have been affected by fire, flood or crime and allow us to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Joy can be contacted for more information on 01482 220723 or alternatively by e-mail at joy.harvie@humberside.pnn.police.uk

Anyone interested in becoming a Police or Fire Service Volunteer can find full details and an application form at www.humberside.police.uk/recruitment/police-service-volunteers