Why did you become a police support volunteer? I had considered joining the Special Constabulary but was unable to pursue this. I met a senior police officer at an event and mentioned this to her as part of our conversation. She explained that there are many other ways to get involved with policing as a volunteer and asked me to consider becoming a PSV and offer my professional skills to the Constabulary.
Volunteering in this way allows me to make the most of my skillset and also to give something back to my local community.
What skills do you bring to the role and what does your work involve? My contribution to the Constabulary is based around my professional and personal skills. I have vast experience as a photographer and also have good social media expertise.
My role involves managing Cheshire Police’s rural crime Twitter account. I liaise with officers and staff who provide me with topical pictures and information to post, as well as promoting crime safety messages or appeals for information. I also assist with corporate photography requirements and was recently involved in the production of the first corporate calendar for the force, taking shots of the Constabulary’s fleet of vehicles.
What have you gained from being a volunteer? It has provided me with a way to be part of the policing family after my original plan to become a special wasn’t possible. It’s also nice to feel part of a team again as being self-employed, I’m often working by myself at my home office.
What is the reality of volunteering like compared to what you had expected? I had thought that I might feel like a bit of an outsider when getting involved with police work, but it is actually better than I expected as the people I work with treat me as a full member of the team.
What is your proudest achievement as a volunteer? When I was nominated for an award at the Achieving Cheshire Excellence (ACE) Awards. These are the Constabulary’s highest accolades, which are awarded to an individual or team who have gone that extra mile or demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the ‘We’re Here’ pillars of policing in Cheshire.
I was nominated in recognition of giving my time and skills to support the rural and wildlife policing team through my photography and through managing the Twitter account.
What is the best thing about volunteering? You really feel part of a team, and it gives me the opportunity and variety of using my skill set in a different way.
What’s the biggest challenge? Occasionally the policing world has a bit of a feeling of an ‘institution’ with its habits and love for acronyms, but I haven’t found that this has stopped me feeling welcome.
What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for the police? Do it! Not only does it makes you see policing in a different way, it makes you feel part of the community in a very different way! It’s also a great way to showcase your skills or learn new ones in a different setting.