We are highlighting the work of our volunteers and thanking them for their hard work as part of Volunteers' Week (1-7 June).
Volunteers provide a vital resource for us and the force relies on them to increase reassurance for residents across the county as well as supporting its policing teams. Volunteers supported weapon sweeps, events like remembrance Sunday, Halloween patrols, bonfire night and more recent events like celebrations around the King’s coronation.
During January 2022 to December 2022, the Street watch volunteers have dedicated nearly 5,000 hours and our Dog and Horse watch volunteers have volunteered over 1,400 hours. The watch schemes volunteers carry out patrols in their local neighbourhoods to provide visible reassurance to residents as well as deterring criminal activity like drug dealing and anti-social behaviour. The volunteers provide full details and updates on their patrols to our force contact centre.
Speed watch is another vital scheme where volunteers monitor speeding on roads. These roads have been identified as a speeding concern by local residents. During January 2022 to December 2022, 617 sessions were carried out and nearly 5,500 letters sent out. These letters notify motorists that they were captured speeding and offers advice and highlights the dangers of speeding. This not only helps deter speeding and help keep communities safe, but it could also lead to targeted action against repeat offenders.
Watch Scheme Coordinator Juliet Wright said: “Watch schemes are a great way to give back to the community and meet new people. They help deter criminal activity, feed information into officers and the council, whilst providing a visible presence in the communities they cover.
“Though we only ask volunteers to commit to two hours a month, many volunteers choose to do more. All training is provided for you, including specific training from officers on how to report and deal with any situations you come across.”
The special constabulary have also made a huge impact on Bedfordshire communities, and the force, by volunteering around 1,800 hours per month.
Special constables are our volunteer officers and work alongside patrol, community and other departments through dedicated pathways.
They provide a vital boost to the frontline and give our teams an extra hand so the force can attend more jobs and help more people. Specials carry out high visibility patrols, vehicle checks, night-time economy patrols, missing person enquiries, and work closely with community policing to support the local community.
The forces cadets are also a very helpful resource. They are the youngest volunteers are between 13 and 18 years old. Since April 2022, they have had nearly 1,700 hours of training sessions to learn about policing practices, the impact policing has on the community and about how their social interactions impact themselves and the people around them.
They have completed 935 hours of volunteering to activities such as underage test purchasing with local store, supporting internal and external events like recruitment open days, Luton Carnival and the Bedford River festival, St Patricks day parade and the Roads victims trust memorial service.
Chief Inspector Milo Brown said: “We can’t thank our volunteers enough. We have seen communities brought together through watch schemes, and young people make positive contributions to the force and their local communities as a result of cadets training.
“Our volunteers are truly invaluable and provide unique support to the force and the county of Bedfordshire as a whole.”