Why did you become a police support volunteer? I moved to the UK from the Gambia 12 years ago and felt like I wanted to do something to contribute to the society that I now call home. I admire the police service greatly and this gave me a way to support them and to contribute to their good work.
What skills do you bring to the role and what does your work involve? My role involves monitoring the footage from CCTV cameras positioned around Ripley, Alfreton, Belper and Heanor. I monitor what is happening and report any disorder or suspicious behaviour to police officer colleagues. This is all carried out at the local police station.
I am very professional and hard-working, which are important qualities that I have brought to the role. I’m also very friendly and have good time-keeping skills. I am active in my local Muslim community and have worked to strengthen links between my community and the police by taking other volunteers to visit my mosque.
What have you gained from being a volunteer? Being part of the team and providing this service has really boosted my confidence. It has also taught me new technical skills by using the equipment that we have and has introduced me to new friends and colleagues I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet.
What is the reality of volunteering like compared to what you had expected? Volunteering is far more engaging than I expected and provides a number of opportunities I wasn’t aware of. There is a lot of variety in terms of ways in which you can help. I have also been asked to act as a role player for police officer training, playing the role of a victim, witness or offender to help officers and new recruits to practice their processes and procedures.
What is your proudest achievement as a volunteer? It’s great to know that when I joined in 2014 I was part of the first group of Derbyshire police support volunteers. I was also very proud to be asked to take part in a promotional video for the force which showcases the variety of work carried out by police every day. I felt very proud to represent Derbyshire police and to demonstrate the work of volunteers.
What is the best thing about volunteering? It really does give me the chance to contribute to society, which is what I wanted to achieve. You get a sense of selflessness by giving your time up to help the police and by helping officers who are trying to make our communities safer.
What’s the biggest challenge? It was daunting being a new person in the team, surrounded by officers and staff who are extremely busy. It took a while to learn the ropes and to feel confident and comfortable but I was well supported.
What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for the police? Go for it. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain from volunteering and it lets you give something back in a small way.