Today marks the start of Volunteers’ Week and it gives Merseyside’s new Police Commissioner the perfect opportunity to thank the region’s army of unsung heroes who give up their time to help others.
Emily Spurrell is marking the national celebration, held every year from 1 – 7 June, by recognising and applauding the contribution made by hundreds of public-spirited individuals through volunteering across Merseyside. While the coronavirus has put a stop to some of the fantastic activities many volunteers usually do, many are finding new and innovative ways make a difference in their communities and support vulnerable people.
She is starting the celebration today by meeting with members of Merseyside Police’s Special Constabulary, who are also among those who have been going above and beyond the call of duty during the coronavirus outbreak. On average this year, Special Constables have been working more than double the monthly hours expected of them. Specials are requested to work 16 hours a month, but Merseyside’s 149 operational Specials have, on average, served 37 hours per month, amounting to more than 27,300 hours of service so far this year already.
Later in the day, the Police Commissioner will meet a group of ‘Champions’ from her Domestic Abuse Workplace Scheme. The free scheme, run by the Police Commissioner, works with organisations across Merseyside to tackle the cycle of domestic abuse by offering employees a safe space to talk in confidence to trained volunteer ‘Champions’, who will help them to access effective support.
There are now 55 trained ‘Champions’ offering access to support to more than 27,000 employees in 36 organisations from a diverse range of sectors, including the statutory, voluntary, private and faith sectors.
Today, the Police Commissioner will meet some of the Champions to thank them for volunteering to take up this important role, giving up their time and energy to take part in the five-day training course and being on hand to support colleagues who are in need.
On Friday, Emily will carry out a visit to a police custody suite with volunteers from her Independent Custody Visiting scheme, which sees members of the public make unannounced visits to custody suites to check on the welfare of detainees. Throughout the lockdown the scheme’s dedicated Custody Visitors have been carrying out essential visits, either in person or through ‘virtual visits’, using modern technology to observe the wellbeing of those held in police custody.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said, “Volunteers’ Week is an opportunity to say thank you for the fantastic contribution thousands of volunteers make across Merseyside throughout the year.
“At a time when the whole country has been experiencing exceptional, unprecedented challenges, the vital contribution volunteers’ play is more crucial than ever – from our Specials and citizens in policing, to our Custody Visitors and domestic abuse Champions – we are so fortunate to have an army of unsung heroes who demonstrate our region’s community spirit is stronger than ever.
“These dedicated and loyal volunteers perform vital work in the world of policing, but also supporting victims of crimes and their communities. The role they play is a crucial one and I am taking this opportunity to applaud and thank them for their time, effort and selfless commitment.
“I’m delighted to be starting the week by meeting some of our fantastic Special Constabulary and our domestic abuse Champions, who are trained and willing to listen to a colleague who is in need, providing the right support and guidance.
“I’m also looking forward to having the opportunity to meet our Independent Custody Visitors later in the week for their vital contribution to policing.”
Throughout the week, the PCC will be celebrating the work of some of these unsung heroes through her social media channels at www.twitter.com/MerseysidePCC and www.facebook.com/MerseysidePoliceandCrimeCommissioner