The first-ever National Survey of Special Constables and Police Support Volunteers across England and Wales has painted a picture of positivity across the voluntary sector of the Force, with 90% of respondents explaining that they like and enjoy the work they undertake, while seven out of 10 feel their experience has fulfilled what they hoped for when they joined
The initial findings report by the IPSCJ, released ahead of the first Citizens in Policing summit in Manchester this Thursday, 21st July, also reveals that two thirds of volunteers in policing feel appreciated and that their efforts are well recognised by the police service.
The survey, which attracted over 3,000 responses, was commissioned by Chief Constable Dave Jones, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s business lead for Citizens in Policing and was produced by the IPSCJ’s Centre for Citizens in Policing.
The results of the survey also point to remaining cultural challenges, in terms the attitudes and understandings of full-time Officers towards volunteers.
Less than half of volunteers believe that the police service is good at managing volunteers while less than 50% feel that their force understands the skills and experience they bring. Both PSVs and Specials are seeking greater opportunities to diversify, professionally develop and specialise in their volunteering activities.
The top two motivations for volunteering mentioned were giving something back to the community and pursuing a career in the police force. However, the survey results reflect a wide diversity of different motivations for volunteering. Whilst a potential career in policing is a factor for many volunteers, for many more it is not.
A majority of volunteers see themselves as “in it for the long-term”, but one in six could see themselves leaving in the next year. The lengths of volunteering service already given by the majority of survey respondents reflects that police volunteering is a long-term commitment for many.
The survey reflects a wide range of factors potentially connected with retention of volunteers, but fundamentally the quality of volunteering experience appears critical.