Article by Carri-Ann Taylor: Essex Police are recruiting volunteers to help them tackle crime in Billericay.
Essex Police are recruiting “active citizens” to assist neighbourhood officers with crime reduction initiatives, such as leafleting and handing out crime prevention advice.
Recruits will not have any police powers, such as stop and search and arrest, and will only be deployed with officers or PCSOs. However, they will be issued with high-visibility jackets and police identification.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Sgt Fergus Caulfield, from Basildon Neighbourhood Policing Team"]These volunteers will go out with PCSOs and police officers on foot patrol. The idea is they will be a visible presence and our eyes and ears in the community. Some residents do not feel comfortable passing information to the police directly, but we hope these people may feel more comfortable passing information on to volunteers.[/quote]
Volunteers could work in places where there has been a spate of burglaries or car crime. They will work with uniformed colleagues to patrol the area, hand out safety advice and reassure residents.
The scheme was trialled in Colchester last year and will be introduced in Billericay in the coming weeks. There are currently five volunteers, but Sgt Caulfield hopes to recruit a team of ten.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Sgt Caulfield"]Although there is no financial reward, this is a fantastic opportunity to help support our communities. It will provide younger volunteers with experience and allow older volunteers the chance to utilise and share their life experiences and make our community even safer.[/quote]
Volunteers should be aged over 18 and able to commit to a minimum of six hours every month, over a few days.
For information, contact Sgt Caulfield at Billericay police on 101.