Police volunteers thanked for “making Bedfordshire safer”

260
Police volunteers celebration event June 2024: (l-r) Bedfordshire PCC John Tizzard with volunteer Malgorzata Poczatek and DCC Vajzovic
(l-r) Bedfordshire PCC John Tizzard with volunteer Malgorzata Poczatek and DCC Vajzovic. Image: Bedfordshire Police

More than 100 volunteers across Bedfordshire Police and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) have had their efforts celebrated as part of an event to mark the 40th anniversary of National Volunteers Week.

The aim of the event at Bedfordshire Police Headquarters on Monday (17 June) was to recognise those who go the extra mile for their communities. It also marked the 40th anniversary of National Volunteers Week.

The volunteers recognised included those who provide independent scrutiny of the use of Stop and Search and Use of Force across Bedfordshire and work to improve the community’s confidence and trust in the police.

The panel members review body-worn footage and provide feedback to the officers involved in relation to legal requirements and their manner and tone in dealing with people.

Malgorzata Poczatek, one of the volunteers for the Independent Custody Scrutiny Panel said: “I have recently joined the Independent Custody Scrutiny Panel. For me, as a Psychology student, it means I can gain some experience in the field of criminal behaviour/offenders.

Police volunteers celebration event June 2024: (l-r) Bedfordshire PCC John Tizzard with Special Constable Rob Ward and DCC Vajzovic
(l-r) Bedfordshire PCC John Tizzard with Special Constable Rob Ward and DCC Vajzovic. Image: Bedfordshire Police

“It also means that I may be able to make a difference in helping to improve fair treatment of people who are detained.

“I’m currently working with young people with special education needs in a college setting, so I hope my knowledge in this field may help police to better understand the needs and how to deal with a person who is on a spectrum or have severe learning difficulties.

Other volunteers celebrated on the night included Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) who can call at Bedfordshire Police custody suites unannounced at any time. The ICVs check on the welfare of people detained in custody by the police.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Tizard and Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) Dan Vajzovic hosted the event and gave personal thanks to all volunteers working for the OPCC and across Bedfordshire Police.

“Volunteering is a great and important form of social action. It benefits society and communities. It is important to policing and the wider social justice system, said PCC John Tizzard.

“We are very fortunate that some many people volunteers to support policing and in turn their communities across Bedfordshire. It is fantastic to celebrate and thank the over 750 volunteers who contribute to making Bedfordshire safer.

“Their selfless commitment whether as a member of a neighbourhood or speed watch or a special constable or a police cadet or a member of the scrutiny panel or as an independent custody visitor – and this list could go on and on – deserves the thanks of everyone in our county.”

Police volunteers celebration event June 2024: (l-r) Bedfordshire PCC John Tizzard with volunteer Phil Dickson-Earle and DCC Vajzovic
(l-r) Bedfordshire PCC John Tizzard with volunteer Phil Dickson-Earle and DCC Vajzovic Image: Bedfordshire Police

Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) for Bedfordshire Police, Dan Vajzovic, added, “Whilst we have the largest number of police officers that we have ever had, the demand for our services and the complexity of that demand is increasing.

“It was a huge privilege to meet so many volunteers this evening and to hear first-hand about all the vital work that they do to help us keep Bedfordshire safe. The impact they have on local communities is invaluable.

“Their loyalty is outstanding and deserves recognition. Without their input in supporting our operational delivery and in acting as our critical friends, the service we offer would be greatly diminished”.