Volunteers’ Week a cause for celebration at Sussex Police

CCTV viewer Hannah Sheridan-Olliver
CCTV viewer Hannah Sheridan-Olliver

Volunteers’ Week celebrates all those who give up their time for free as well as doing a another day job.

There are around 600 volunteers at Sussex Police from special constables to cadets to volunteer CCTV viewers. As well as June 1 to June 7 being Volunteers’ Week, Saturday and Sunday (June 3/4) was specials weekend when special constables were out and about across the county. Follow @sussexspecials on Twitter to find out what they’ve been doing.

Last month, Sussex Police stole the show at the regional volunteering awards winning three out of six categories and were runners-up in one other.

Matt West was awarded the South East Regional Special Constable of the Year at this year’s Citizens in Policing awards on May 6. Two Sussex Specials also came as runners-up in the Special Constable Team of the year award. SC Pete Jennings and SC Lee Bates have worked more than 150 hours since January and are invaluable members of their teams. Both the Cadet Team of the Year - Eastbourne, run by Sergeant Fiona Munro - and the Cadet of the Year, Harry Marchant, came from Sussex.

In September last year, the force advertised for people to join five new volunteering roles based across the county and now some of them have started those roles.

Mum-of-three Hannah Sheridan-Olliver, from Lewes, has started as a CCTV viewer. She said, “I’ve worked for the same company for 20 years and really enjoy what I do. Since moving to Lewes three years ago and with a significant birthday approaching me next year I wanted to do something different without giving up my day job and doing some good locally.”

Retired finance worker Paul Hopkins, from Ashington, wanted to keep his brain active once he gave up work.

He said, “Clichéd as it may sound I wanted to ‘give something back’. I wanted to do something fulfilling and yet something worthwhile and valued. In my relatively small role in helping the MASH (multi-agency safeguarding hub) unit in Horsham I am pleased to say this is proving to be the case and I am enjoying it immensely.”

Chief Inspector Rob Leet, in charge of the volunteering programme, said, “Volunteering is rewarding and challenging, offering a unique opportunity to develop your skills and experience, try things you’ve always wanted to do and learn more about how Sussex Police works. Our volunteers are rewarded with a diverse and supportive environment that can bring personal benefits and huge sense of community involvement.

“We have more than 100 police volunteers working within our communities in a variety of roles from specialist search teams, to office administrators, to Community Speedwatch. They are incredibly hard working and important to us and I want to thank each and every one of them.”