In my Police & Crime Plan, Everybody’s Business, I pledge to grow and expand volunteering opportunities but recognise that, for some, a full time job may stifle their ability to take part so I am spearheading ‘Employer Supported Policing’ to enable more people to get involved.
The challenge for PCCs has been opening up volunteering opportunities to all individuals, even those with full-time work commitments, but who still wish to play their part in maintaining a safe community. Nationally, the government’s plans around volunteering may see a new workplace entitlement for all large companies and public services to give their employees the right to three days of paid leave. This will go some way to supporting this gap, but is still far from being formalised and embedded across the country.
In Hertfordshire, we have been at the forefront of leading a campaign to ask employers to act now by spearheading the ‘Employer Supported Policing Scheme’. This puts policies in place to work with small, medium and large employers across the county to give their employees paid leave, sometimes up to a week a year, to become full warranted volunteer police officers by joining Hertfordshire Constabulary as a Special Constable. It gives employees flexibility to get involved at a level that is suitable for them, in order to meet individual organisation’s needs.
Since going live in late 2015, six businesses in Hertfordshire have responded and give their employees time off to volunteer, recognising the skills and experience which are beneficial to an employer and to Hertfordshire Constabulary. This includes national businesses, such as Mothercare, local business, McMullen and Sons, and Broxbourne Borough Council. For many employers, Employer Supported Policing makes good business sense, as they reap the benefits from all those who undertake high-quality police training on a range of aspects of the law, health and safety and first aid. These employees also bring personal qualities into the workplace, including an ability to deal with and take charge of difficult and challenging situations; confidence and assertiveness; and an ability to work under pressure.
The benefits to policing are also clear - enhancing and augmenting the Constabulary’s capacity, capability and resilience in tackling all types of crime in a variety of challenging situations; and being able to use each individual’s skills and experience to benefit the policing family and provide valuable insights to inform and support strategy and operational practice.
The recent national Specials Conference in April showed that there is much to be gained by recruiting Special Constables from industries, particularly those relating to technology, who can help fulfil key areas of needs in relation to e-crime. In Hertfordshire, those industry skills are already starting to show significant benefits for the force where a Special Constable, who is an IT specialist by day, took part in a house raid and was able to recover critical information for an investigation by locating data that was hidden on a suspect’s hard drive.
There is also much to be gained for the individual from being a Special Constable through the Employer Supported Policing Scheme. Take Myles Cole-Ganney, who is a project surveyor from BAM Construct UK in Hemel Hempstead by day and a Special Sergeant in Hertfordshire by night. Following the Commissioner’s pledge to give longer-serving Special Constables access to a response driving course, Myles, who has been a serving Special Constable for six years, approached his employer to seek paid leave to attend a two-week police response driving course. BAM Construct was flexible with their working arrangements, granting Myles a week’s paid leave and time off when required to attend the course.
Myles comments, “I really enjoy the experience I have gained from being a Special in Hertfordshire. While it is completely different from my day job, there are a vast range of skills, like decision making and leadership, which overlap both roles. It is great that BAM have supported me to go on the response driving course. Being the first of two Specials in Hertfordshire to receive this training further strengthens the ways I can help the community - and it is excellent for my own development.”
You can read the full article on Police Inight here.
Police & Crime Commissioner