Volunteers help in all walks of life - but did you realise how many of our county's residents give up their own time to help Wiltshire Police?

Together with PCC Angus Macpherson we are celebrating all volunteers across the Force and saying a huge 'thank you!' as National Volunteers' Week kicks off today (June 1). 

Our volunteers help in a variety of roles from Community Speed Watch and Lorry Watch to Wiltshire Horse Watch, Farm Watch and Canal Watch. These eagle-eyed residents are making a tangible difference in their communities and making it harder for criminals to operate.

Volunteers also help bolster our regular officers and, in 2017, Wiltshire Police Specials gave more than 72,000 hours to help keep our communities safe. The contribution special constables make will be celebrated this weekend (1-3 June) across the country. In 2016 PCC Angus Macpherson invested £1 million into the Force's special constable programme to ensure they were fully trained to work alongside our frontline officers and staff. 

These volunteers along with roles such as Chaplain, Restorative Justice Facilitator, police support volunteer and cadet leader, just to name a few, work to support officers, staff and the public, whilst roles such as Independent Custody Visitors and Independent Advisory group members offer an impartial approach when scrutinising and challenging the Force, ensuring that the police service is open and accountable to the public.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon's PCC, said volunteers played a key role in modern day policing, within the police, criminal justice system and the wider community.

He said: "All of our volunteers play a special, and vital, role at Wiltshire police.

"From special constables engaging with the community to restorative justice volunteers supporting victims of crime - all are giving back to the community and protecting others.

"Each volunteer brings with them unique skills and experience which we may not have benefited from had they not been so generous with their time. They enable us to offer an improved and extended service to the public we serve.

"Our volunteers also ensure that our police force is more representative of the communities it serves, resulting in the public getting a better service.

"Wiltshire is fortunate - we put the community at the heart of our policing but we also have numerous members of the community making it beat."

And Wiltshire Police Chief Constable Kier Pritchard added: "I have huge admiration for all of the volunteers who give up their most precious commodity - their time - to help others and to help me provide a modern-day force that provides a quality policing service for the county.

"I am extremely proud to have so many committed and talented individuals in Wiltshire and I want to extend my thanks to each and every one of them. The only way we can deliver a Force fit to meet the demands of 2018 and beyond is by working hand-in-hand with our communities."

Modern-day policing is complex and while many of the crimes this covers are invisible, such as fraud, cybercrime and online child sexual exploitation - so is the policing response.

As part of a joint summer-long campaign - Beyond The Beat - we are giving you an insight into the other side of policing - and the work that goes on behind the scenes, as well as throwing a spotlight onto different aspects of our work.

The force can prioritise specialist resources in the right places and relies on the vital services supplied by citizens in policing who regularly donate their time to make the communities they live, and work, in a safer place to be.

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon's PCC, and Chief Constable Kier Pritchard are keen that residents are more aware of the hidden demands on staff and officers' time, and squeezed resources.

You can join in the conversation and keep up-to-date on our spotlight on volunteers this week by following our social media channels and #BeyondTheBeat #VolunteersWeek and #specialsweekend18

For more information on the volunteering opportunities within Wiltshire Police, please go to our volunteers page

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