Chief Constable sets out vision of volunteers to help police Cambridgeshire

CHIEF Constable Simon Parr has unveiled a remarkable picture of policing across Cambridgeshire by the use of a new army of volunteers.

He has prepared what he describes as a “contemporary briefing on the use and intended use of unpaid volunteers” to the police authority’s people and professional standards committee on Monday.

Mr Parr, for example, foresees a future in which volunteers are used to ‘police’ major events such as the Burleigh Horse Trials and the Newmarket Racecourses.

“The constabulary recognises the opportunities and benefits of engaging with volunteers and other ‘non constabulary’ partnership staff,” says Mr Parr. “Such engagement provides additional support to our policing functions and allows direct interaction with local people in a tangible and mutually beneficial way.”

He says that “in the current economic climate with understandable sensitivities” he was anxious to stress the new intake of volunteers will be additional to and not to replace full time staff.

“Having said that is as important to appreciate that volunteer and partnership staff does represent increased operational and backroom flexibility and capacity beyond our normal establishment at very little cost pro rata,” said Mr Parr.

The chief constables is hopeful to attract a wide range of volunteers on top of the boost given to the Special Constabulary whose numbers locally are expected to rise considerably on top of the 203 already recruited.

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Primary use of them, he says, is neighbourhood policing and he hopes soon to move them towards even closer integration with regular force teams.

The new volunteers will come through such initiatives as the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme where staff working for an organisation can be empowered to perform some specific policing style tasks.

He gives as an example a trial at Addenbrokes last year where eight staff were empowered as ‘accredited persons’ and its within this structure he is talking to organisers of the Burleigh Horse Trials and with Suffolk Police about Newmarket racecourses.

Cambridgeshire could also enlist Police Support Volunteers, he says, to work alongside existing police officers and staff. Cambs already had around 230 of these people including volunteers in the Cambridgeshire Independent Advisory Network and 30 independent custody visitors.

Mr Parr also sees enhanced opportunities for neighbourhood and street watch volunteers and also many more volunteering for such initiatives as community speed watch.