11 October 2016
Police Support Volunteers and Special Constables were thanked for their exceptional contributions to keeping the South West region safe at an awards ceremony on Sunday 9 October 2016.
During the ceremony hosted by Dorset Police at the Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth, 52 awards trophies were presented to volunteers from across the region. Nominations were received from all five south west constabularies: Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, as well as British Transport Police.
The honours, including the Police Support Volunteer of the Year, Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year, Highly Commended Police Support Volunteer Team, Special Constable of the Year and the Special Constable Team of the Year award, were presented by Dorset Police Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan and Dorset’s Police and Deputy Crime Commissioner, Colin Pipe.
Mr Jurek Wozniak won the Police Support Volunteer of the Year 2016 award, in recognition of his valuable contribution to policing in Wiltshire. Jurek has volunteered with Wiltshire Police since 2008, supporting front line operations and facilitating language translation, helping to break down communication barriers with the local Polish community.
Gloucestershire’s Restorative Justice Volunteers were presented with the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year 2016 award. The team bring those harmed by crime and those responsible for the harm into communication, enabling everyone affected by an incident to find a positive way forward. The team were recognised for their highly skilled and enthusiastic efforts when managing a diverse caseload, ranging from low level anti-social behaviour to homicide and harmful sexual behaviour.
Dorset’s Ferndown Police Community Office team, who have been volunteering since 2005, were also highly commended for providing invaluable support and advice to victims of crime.
In 2015 alone, more than 2300 people benefitted from the drop-in facilities they offer. Volunteers were recognised for supporting local policing with invaluable intelligence, and for raising the confidence in the police by providing a direct link between the police and local residents, six days a week.
Avon & Somerset’s Martock volunteer team, who give up their time between 11am and 1pm every day, were also highly commended for assisting those that need advice on matters relating to the police. Elderly residents often express their preference to report via the Information Centre, which offers a reassuring service if they have difficulty using the telephone.
Special Sergeant Richard Blythe won the Special Constable of the Year 2016 award for his significant contribution to policing in Gloucestershire. In the last year, he has completed over 151 duties, contributing over 961 hours supporting policing whilst holding full time employment.
Avon & Somerset Special Constables that led an operation to tackle the anti-social behaviour of large groups of youths won the Special Constable Team of the Year 2016 award. The issue became a Force priority when heavy items including a shopping trolley were thrown onto the A4174, striking and breaking a lorry windscreen and injuring the driver.
In response, the Specials team engaged with local partners to extend local youth club opening hours and collaborated with youth workers for interventions. The team showed CCTV footage at parents’ evenings in local schools, and funding was achieved to place cameras in high risk areas to identify offenders.
Dispersal notices were deployed and four arrests were made. The drive and commitment shown by the team led to a swift, long-term resolution of a problem that has plagued the area for years.
Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “Dorset is very proud to host this event. These awards are a wonderful opportunity to recognise the hard work, professionalism and selflessness of volunteers across the region.
“This really is about celebrating ordinary people from communities doing something extraordinary.”
Dorset Police’s Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Anthi Minhinnick, said: “The positive effects of volunteering should not be underestimated. These awards are a credit to all those involved that have supported various police forces and policing initiatives over the last year.”
Deputy Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Colin Pipe, said: “I am very proud of the people who work within the police service, especially those who give their service in a voluntary capacity. It is an honour to be able to thank them in person for their contributions, which help to make local communities better and safer places to live and work.”
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