Police volunteers in Blaby have won a prestigious annual national policing award for the third time.
It will be another journey to Westminster to pick up the Police Support Volunteer Team of the Year prize in the National Police Improvement Agency’s (NPIA) Special Constable and Police Support Volunteer Award for 2012.
They also won it in 2009 and 2011. Alongside the Blaby Volunteers, the award was won by the volunteers at Wigston in 2010 – making Leicestershire Police winners four years in a row.
The team of ten volunteers at Blaby were put forward in recognition of their work using small ‘Memocam’ cameras to provide evidence in a range of criminal and antisocial behaviours in their local community.
The project started in 2008 with three cameras funded by Blaby District Council’s Community Safety Partnership and has grown to the point that the volunteers now have fourteen including some of the latest camera and storage technologies.
The volunteers are tasked by either the police or District community safety team to install the Memocams in the homes of people who are identified as vulnerable or who have been the victim of crime.
They have produced results in a wide range of situations including distraction burglary, domestic violence and anti-social behaviour.
The volunteers originally investigated equipment options, putting forward the case for funding.
They sourced equipment, wrote and delivered training for their own team and learnt to overcome the inevitable technical difficulties.
The volunteers have also put together the complete administrative system including request documentation, data sharing and storage processes. They now provide a complete service, managing the camera inventory, installing in accordance with request, collecting evidence and providing it to the requester.
Central to their activity is to ensure that they comply at all times with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) which regulates the powers of public bodies to carry out surveillance and investigation. The result is that the inventory is in constant use, usually with a short waiting list.
Inspector Jon Brown, Commander of Blaby Local Policing Unit, said;
“Officers really do value the work of the volunteers especially as they run and manage the Memocam project very efficiently from beginning to end. The service they provide goes that extra mile towards reassuring and supporting victims of crime. This reduces the chances of them falling victim again and makes them feel safer and comforted. The messages I receive from members of the public thanking the volunteers shows how much they are valued by the community.
“I am thrilled for the team that they have received national recognition yet again for their work, it is thoroughly deserved.”
Some members of the team will go to London on a date to be decided in September to receive their award.
Mr Francis Dent, one of the volunteers, said;
“We provide a simple, low cost service that ensures that the police’s own capabilities can be used where they are most urgently needed.”
“We know that workload for local beat teams means that they and don’t always have the time, or the resources to follow through with victims of crime as they would like and they value having the skills of our team alongside to help them. We want to help make a difference in the community.
Jeremy Collingridge, another Memocam project volunteer, said,
“We are all delighted about this award as it tells us that we have done well in this project. It is a privilege to work alongside the police and to be allowed to contribute in this way. There is a lot to do. We are constantly looking for people with practical project skills that share our values and want to make a difference that is measured in ways other than money.”
Chief Superintendent Chris Thomas, from the Counties’ BCU, said;
“We really do value the time at these and other the volunteers give in support of the police service. For this team to win this national accolade three times and Leicestershire four times in succession is an amazing achievement and is thoroughly deserved. Well done and thank you to the whole team.”
The team is looking for like minded volunteers to join them, someone who wants to make a difference and can operate independently and as part of the team. More information and application packs can be obtained from the Resourcing Department on 101 extension 2105.