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Frequently Asked Questions


People volunteer for Dorset Police because they are interested in helping their local community, but also because they have an interest in police work, or want to find out more about policing. Volunteers come from all walks of life. You may be at home with your family, in full or part-time employment or education, or retired.

The role of a volunteer is designed to enhance the work of the police and provide additional support in the area where the volunteer lives or works. Volunteers are extremely important to the force – helping us develop, engage and interact more effectively with our local communities and to help make them safer.

As a volunteer you can assist with a range of activities, from monitoring CCTV in the town centre to helping out at one of the Public Contact Points. The pressures on a modern police force are enormous and there is always more that could be done. Volunteers assist throughout the force with a wide range of tasks, for example, calling back members of the public who ring in to report something suspicious and letting them know the result of their call. This provides reassurance and helps build public confidence in the Police. We work with you to find a role that matches your skills.

You will gain new experiences and will be assisting Police Officers, Special Constables or Police Staff members which will give you an insight into how the police service works. You will develop your skills in areas such as communication, be part of a team, and have the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping your community and Dorset as a whole.

You will be invited to a half day Induction Course which features key speakers covering Data Protection, Welfare, Professional Standards and Diversity. You will also receive individual training specific to your role. You will be supported throughout.

Hours are flexible and can vary according to the role. Whilst we prefer volunteers to give a minimum of four hours a week this is negotiable and we will seek to adapt hours to suit the individuals personal and work commitments where possible.

You must be a minimum age of 16 (parental/guardian consent is required for all volunteers between 16-18 years of age). For insurance reasons, Dorset Police does not invite volunteer applications from people over the age of 80.

Note: A minimum age limit is required in certain areas of the force as follows:

o Control room, file preparation, crime records, witness liaison minimum age limit 17 years.

o CSI, Fingerprints, Scientific Aids, Photography/Video minimum age limit 18 years.

Although you will not be paid a salary, your volunteering role should not leave you out of pocket. You can claim expenses for travelling to and from your place of duty.

The Recruitment Team aim to process your application as quickly as possible, and keep you updated as appropriate. The process is complex and the time taken to complete it can vary widely. However, the full recruitment process from submission of an application to appointment should be between two to three months.

  1. Submission of an application form
  2. Informal suitability interview
  3. Medical suitability, security and reference checks

Once the application is fully complete an informal suitability interview will be arranged for you with the relevant department. The interview is informal and lasts approximately 30 minutes; this also gives you an opportunity to find out if the role you have applied for meets your needs. Should you be successful we you will then be asked you to complete a medical declaration, whilst we undertake reference and security checks.

Some minor criminal records will not stop you from joining Dorset Police as a volunteer but if you do apply, you must declare any convictions/cautions, even if it was a juvenile offence. Each application is carefully considered on its own merits and against strict Home Office guidance. All applicants are encouraged to provide supplementary information where applicable. It will not be possible to process applicants with pending charges/summonses until the outcome of any court appearance is known.

Local and national/international security checks are completed for all applicants. Applicants are strongly recommended to advise family members etc. that security checks will be carried out on them. However, the results of such enquiries will not be disclosed.

Note: Applicants must have 3 years continuous residency in the UK, immediately prior to submission for their application to be considered.

Applicants who have been resident outside of the UK whilst serving with the armed forces or on government service will be considered to have been resident in the UK.

A volunteer with Dorset Police may be in a position to access or hear potentially sensitive or personal information. Such information has the potential to render a volunteer vulnerable to corruption. Applicants to the Police Service should not therefore be under pressure from un-discharged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly. Police Regulations also state that a member of a police force shall not wilfully refuse or neglect to discharge any lawful debt. Your application will therefore be checked to determine and verify your financial position. However, most applicants have debts, such as mortgages, un-discharged students or other loans, and credit/store card debts.

Visit our dedicated Police Support Volunteer roles page and download an application form once you have identified a suitable Police Support Volunteer role.

Alternatively if you require further information or clarification on a role you can contact the Volunteers Support Team by email to vol@dorset.pnn.police.uk or by telephoning 101 and asking to speak to a member of the team.