Today Sussex Police join charities and organisations across the country to celebrate Volunteers’ Week (1 – 7 June) and recognise their inspirational contribution and commitment.
Their volunteers’ selfless hard work across multiple areas of policing, makes such a positive difference both to the force and within communities across Sussex every day.
Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering. Thanks to our volunteers our force benefits in a wide range of areas across the county including Special Constables, Police Support Volunteers, Cadet Leaders, Cadets, Chaplains, search teams, Community Speedwatch volunteers and Independent Custody Volunteers.
We would also like to thank our wider partners who have volunteers supporting them, which in turn support Sussex Police.
Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: “I would like to thank all our volunteers for their commitment to protect the community, deliver an outstanding service and catch criminals. We recognise, particularly in these challenging times, their continued commitment, enthusiasm, and personal sacrifice in giving their free time to help Sussex Police. They are all an inspiration.”
Meet some of our inspiring volunteers
Sussex has 95 Special Constables who deliver an outstanding service across Sussex and support regular officers by regularly taking an active part in keeping our communities safe and secure.
A Special Constable is a voluntary police officer who gives their free time and has the same powers in law as regular police officers. Sussex Special Constabulary are a vital force to Sussex and conduct a wide range of tasks and duties, including supporting neighbourhood police teams, response, rural crime, safeguarding investigations, tactical enforcement, and the roads policing unit.
Detective Superintendent Rachel Carr said: "All of our volunteers make an incredible sacrifice and contribution which enables is to deliver on the policing priorities.
"Having worked with the Specials for the last three years as the thematic lead I am always amazed with their effort, determination and commitment. We could not deliver on what we do without all of them and this should without a doubt be celebrated and recognised.”
Special Sergeant Dom Parris explained why he keeps coming back. He said: "Having been a Special Constable for over 14 years and having recently achieved the rank of Special Sergeant, volunteering for Sussex Police gives me an opportunity to make a huge difference in the community I live in."
"Whether responding to 999 calls, looking at local priorities and considering how my team can best support this, feeling the adrenaline rush of a blue light run, or providing the best support to victims and witnesses, no two shifts are ever the same, and even after all this time I still love coming in and getting stuck in.
"Being that my day desk job is outside of policing, I have skills that are transferable and invaluable to me in my role, and I am proud to have the opportunity to use those to support Sussex Police."
Celebrating our Police Support Volunteers
Sussex Police have over 135 Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) who provide their expertise in a wide variety of roles that include: rural crime, administration support, public enquiry volunteers, criminal justice, fraud prevention, chaplains, people services and cyber-crime.
David Lee, a current fraud prevention volunteer said: “I have seen the impact fraud can have on people lives and felt this was a chance to help, as many victims feel incredibly isolated and mistakenly foolish for being a victim. It is a good opportunity to reassure them and give them renewed confidence.
"I’ve met some great people with everyone being very supportive, friendly, inclusive and above all made me feel valued.”
We continue to develop many new roles, with new posts becoming established in such areas as CCTV support, public protection, fingerprint volunteers, and working alongside the local policing support team.
Assistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges said: "We are continually grateful for the broad range of skills, knowledge, expertise that our Police Support Volunteers bring to their different roles, which enhance and support our officers and staff. Their dedication inspires not only those who work alongside them but continues to encourage new volunteers into the service.
"Volunteering full stop is an incredible gesture and to do so in support of policing and thereby playing your part to protect your communities, catch criminals and deliver an outstanding service is valued so highly by all concerned.”
If you’d like to find out more about volunteer opportunities at Sussex Police, please visit the recruitment page for volunteers.
Focus on Community Speedwatch Volunteers
Community SpeedWatch (CSW) has grown over the last few years and with good reason. In Sussex alone last year 1085 people were seriously injured and 48 people sadly lost their lives on our roads. Community Speedwatch seeks to reverse this by promoting education awareness, collecting road- speed data and acting as a deterrent against speeding.
Stephen O’Connell CSW Officer and Sussex Safer Roads Partnership officer said: “We have a team of 2,400 well trained and equipped volunteers. In one year, they’ve put in just over 10,612 hours’ worth of work, completing over 4,400 speed checks, a truly amazing contribution to our force.”
Making the difference in the community: Police Cadets and Cadet Leaders
Sussex Police are immensely proud to have around 170 police cadets, aged between 13 – 18 years old, across East and West Sussex in eight units. The cadets meet weekly throughout term-time to learn policing skills. They follow a national curriculum of topics relevant to their role, learn from guest speakers, undertake scenario training and attend fitness sessions.
Chief Inspector Roy Hodder the thematic lead for Cadets said: "Our police cadets give their time to the communities, carrying out social actions and engaging with the public as well as assisting with policing operations, participating in a wide range of activities, and providing support to their colleagues. I am rightly proud of all they achieve, and their successes continue to be recognised with awards for their community involvement”.
Marianne Hovenden, Cadet and Citizens' in Policing Coordinator said: "The units would not exist without the commitment and dedication given by the volunteer leaders who offer up their time to plan and run the weekly sessions.“
Cadet Leader becomes Special
SC Sasha Watkins a Volunteer Police Cadet Leader and now Special in Worthing explained her volunteer journey.“I started my volunteering journey with Sussex Police in January 2022 when I was recruited as a leader for Adur and Worthing Police Cadets. After hearing the from many officers, I decided I wanted to give it a try. In October 2022, I started my journey to become a Special Constable and I am very proud to have achieved”.
If you are interested in helping with our Volunteer Cadet Units, we are always looking for new volunteers who can spare an evening each week to help, plus the occasional day at a weekend. We are looking for new leaders at our Eastbourne and Worthing units, although any offers of help are welcome. Please see our dedicated Volunteer Cadet page and get in touch.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: "Across the Sussex Police organisation there are simply hundreds of volunteers who quietly dedicate their time to helping people.
"To all the volunteers within: the Special Constabulary; Police Cadets; Community Speedwatch; Restorative Justice; Mediation Services; Independent Custody Visitors; to Search and Rescue Teams and our local Neighbourhood Watch, I want to say a genuine and heartfelt thank you.
“Volunteers’ efforts provide invaluable support to the work of Sussex Police and are truly appreciated by the residents of Sussex too. Day and night, come rain or shine, 365 days a year, our volunteers are out there, providing the extra help to so many of our support services that simply wouldn’t be able to deliver the results they do without them."