Volunteering in policing

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There are many ways in which the public can contribute to the criminal justice process.

This page provides details of the main police service volunteer roles and opportunities for public participation.

If you have an interest in any of these roles or opportunities, please click on the website link or contact your local police force for further information.

Volunteer Role Description Further Information
Special Constabulary The special constabulary is a force of trained volunteers who work with and support their local police. 'Specials', as special constables are known, come from all walks of life - they are teachers, taxi drivers, accountants and secretaries, or any number of other careers - and they all volunteer a minimum of four hours a week to their local police force, forming a vital link between the regular (full-time) police and the local community.

Once special constables have completed their training, they have the same powers as regular officers and wear a similar uniform.
Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) PSVs are citizen volunteers who give their time freely to perform tasks which complement the duties performed by police officers and staff. This helps free up officers and staff to perform key operational duties. Volunteer roles range from providing front counter services and administration to following up crime reports and incidents with members of the public. These volunteer roles provide significant benefits to the Police Service and to local communities. Contact your local police force for further details.
Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (NHWN) The Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch Network bring neighbours together to create strong, friendly communities where crime and antisocial behaviour may be less likely to happen. The Network gives like-minded people the resources they need to meet, start schemes, share know-how and more. There are over 170,000 Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch Network schemes across England and Wales. www.ourwatch.org.uk
Crimestoppers Crimestoppers is an independent charity which helps to find criminals and solve crimes. It provides an anonymous 24/7 phone number that people can call to pass on information about crime; alternatively people can send information anonymously via the Crimestoppers website.

Crimestoppers is supported by the hard work and talent of over 500 volunteers.
Street pastors Street pastors provide an inter-denominational Church response to urban problems, engaging with people on the streets to care, listen and dialogue.

A Street Pastor is a Church leader/minister or member with a concern for society - in particular young people who feel themselves to be excluded and marginalised - and who is willing to engage with people.
Street Angels / Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network Street Angels work in towns and cities across the UK and are linked via the Christian Nightlife Initiatives Network. They work to address some of the issues around the night-time economy in town centres on Friday and Saturday nights.

You do not have to be a Christian or be part of a church to volunteer.

National Association of Chaplains to the Police Police chaplains provide care for individuals within each force. They also care for the organisation, acting as critical friends within the decision making processes.

Chaplains are drawn from all faiths.  They may be volunteers giving a minimum of two hours a week.
Victim Support Victim support is a national charity giving free and confidential help to victims of crime, witnesses, their family, friends and anyone else affected across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Victim support also speaks out as a national voice for victims and witnesses and campaigns for change.

Victim support is built on the dedication of its volunteers. Volunteers outnumber employees by nearly four to one.

Community Speedwatch Community speedwatch is a scheme to help people reduce speeding traffic though their community. The scheme enables volunteers to work within their community and with the police to raise awareness of the dangers of speeding and to help control the problem locally. Search for your local community speedwatch website or contact your local police force for details.
Independent Custody Visitors Independent Custody Visitors are members of the public who make regular unannounced visits to check on the standards in which people are held in custody. Visitors play a vital role in raising standards and helping ensure the fair treatment of detainees. Their visits also help to enhance the accountability and transparency of the police among the communities they serve. www.icva.org.uk
Independent Advisory Groups Independent Advisory Groups are groups of community representatives who regularly meet with the police. This provides an opportunity to give the police feedback from the community and to put forward a community perspective. Contact your local police force for further details.
Police consultation efforts There is a statutory requirement that arrangements are made in each police area for obtaining the views of the local community on the policing of the area. This enables members of the public to play a role in the development of local policing policy. Contact your local police force for further details.
Citizens in Policing Citizens in Policing is the term used to describe the thousands of people across the UK who give up their time to support the police.

The role of citizens in policing is vital – volunteers increase the capacity of our constabularies, bringing valuable skills and expertise to police teams, creating closer and  more effective relationships with our communities.

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