Published: 15:43, 11 July 2018
A new volunteer police presence is being piloted to help promote community safety and increase support for vulnerable people.
Community policing volunteers (CPVs) will take part in a variety of initiatives, including helping to provide advice and reassurance to Maidstone residents around issues including anti-social behaviour.
Earlier this year a Kent Police recruitment campaign led to the selection of five successful candidates and on 4 July 2018 a passing out ceremony was held at the force headquarters, in Sutton Road, Maidstone.
Working alongside police community support officers (PCSOs), CPVs have already started to patrol their new neighbourhoods. They have a number of powers similar to that of PCSOs, including the power to request the name and address of someone committing anti-social behaviour, the authority to control traffic and place traffic signs, and being able to enter homes to save life or prevent serious damage.
All recruits are provided with a police uniform which will reflect that of a PCSO and they will be asked to contribute a minimum of 16 hours a month. By engaging closely with their local communities and working with partner agencies, they will also be helping to identify and support vulnerable people.
Citizens in Policing Chief Inspector Jason Wenlock said: ‘We are very excited to welcome our first community policing volunteers, who will help support the vital service that local PCSOs already provide. We already know from the nationally recognised work our award winning Special Constabulary does - in supporting regular police officers - that in Kent Police, volunteer does not mean amateur. We aim to expand this excellent volunteering opportunity further later this year.'
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, Matthew Scott, said: ‘Residents have previously told me they would like to see volunteers similar to PCSOs boosting visibility in their neighbourhoods. I’m pleased the community policing volunteers scheme is now up and running and I look forward to hearing how it develops. I’d like to welcome the CPVs into the wider policing family alongside our Special Constabulary, the volunteer police cadets and the likes of Kent Search And Rescue, Neighbourhood Watch and South East 4x4 Response. All of them do fantastic roles making us safer in Kent.’
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