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Meet the Dorset Police Contact Point Volunteers

Dorset Police Contact Point Volunteers Jeff, Martin, Joan, Roy, Janet, Terri and Jennifer talk about their experiences of the role and why they would recommend it to others.

The first Dorset Police Public Contact Point opened in June 2015 in Dorchester Library and Learning Centre. Initially set up as a pilot, this volunteer supported service has proved a success and is now planned for implementation across other areas of the county.

The Dorchester contact point is currently staffed by six Contact Point Volunteers (CPV); Martin, Roy, Janet, and Terri began volunteering when it first opened, Joan has been a volunteer since November 2015 and Richard recently joined the team in 2018.

Meet the Contact Point Volunteers - Interview from 2015

The CPVs explain why they decided to volunteer for Dorset Police;

Jeff: "I have always felt the police go unrecognised for what they do and I love that this service is helping people in Dorset."

Martin: "Having retired from teaching I had some spare time and I wanted to do something that involved interacting with people."

Joan: "I heard about the role in my capacity as a Home Watch Coordinator and I understand how stretched the police are so it seemed a good idea to be able to help here."

Roy: "I thought the role would be interesting as you have direct contact with the public and was also an opportunity to provide an alternative service to the local public following the closure of the enquiry office."

Terri: "I decided to volunteer as I am keen to support the Force in order to keep police in front line roles." 

Janet: "I volunteered for the role after Dorchester enquiry office was closed as I felt it was important to keep an accessible police service."

Jennifer: "I was looking for something useful I could participate in as a volunteer, which would be worthwhile and interesting."

A CPV plays a vital role in assisting the local public to engage with the police. CPVs signpost enquiries to the relevant police contacts and online services. The CPVs explain what they enjoy about the role;

Jeff: "I enjoy the variety of the role. One minute I am being asked where the nearest public toilets are and the next I am dealing with a domestic violence or burglary!"

Martin: "I help members of the public on many issues from the mundane to the less mundane! Many of the issues can be dealt with verbally; otherwise we direct them to the most appropriate service. I also really enjoy working as part of a team of volunteers."

Joan: "It is great to be able to meet a variety of people with different requirements and information needs. This creates the challenge of not only finding them a timely answer but also giving them information and confidence so they can subsequently approach the right department or agency should that be the best solution."

Roy: "I find it very satisfying to be able to help someone with a problem that’s bothering them."

Terri: "This role is a great opportunity to be able to have face-to-face contact with the local community and the ability to help individuals in a variety of ways." 

Janet: "I enjoy meeting the public and helping them with their problems or queries."

Jennifer: "I like to be able to help out in any way that I can and I enjoy meeting different members of the public." 

The CPVs highly recommend the role of a Contact Point Volunteer to others;

Jeff: "I would most definitely recommend this role to others. I firmly believe that having a volunteer-run contact point in the library brings the police into the community in a way that having to go to a police station never did. We are easily contacted while you are doing your usual shopping or on your lunch-break from work. It would be great to have a Dorset-wide network of Contact Points."

Martin: "I would recommend this role as it is very interesting and fulfilling, giving you a sense of satisfaction that you have helped people."

Joan: "This role is a great chance for individuals to meet different members of the public and understand how a particular area ticks. It is also a positive way to learn how your police force works and is evolving during times of change."

Janet: "The CPV role is great in order to meet and assist members of the public, although some days can be quieter than others so you need to be patient during these times." 

Roy: "I would recommend this role to others if they are looking for varied work and enjoy dealing with a wide range of ‘customers’, some of which may not always be polite but still require your help."

Terri: "This role is diverse and interesting as you interact with the public helping them with directions to assisting someone who has lost money through a scam. We deal with it all." 

Jennifer: "I would recommend this role to others as it is so worthwhile for the community."

Dorset Police Contact Point Volunteers
Left to right (standing): CPV Terri, Library Manager Rob, CPV Jeff, CPV Joan, Dorset Police Counter Services Operations Manager James, Library Manager Sharon, (sitting) CPV Sharon, CPV Roy