The most comprehensive survey ever undertaken about police volunteers across the nation’s forces is to be made public next month.
The research, which has been commissioned by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) has looked at all police volunteers including Special Constables, Police Support Volunteers, those volunteering with Offices of Police and Crime Commissioner, and Volunteer Police Cadets.
The report will record for the first time how many volunteers there are across the UK, and shed new light of the roles they play and how they are supported.
Dr Iain Britton from the IPSCJ, who has led the research, said: “There hasn’t previously been a systematic collection of data across all the forces nationally, particularly in respect of Police Support Volunteers, who are a hugely important but often neglected part of policing”.
“In May we contacted every police force in England and Wales and asked for information about a number of areas.”
“What we wanted to establish was the core data about how many volunteers there are; what they do; how many hours they contribute; the impact they have; the level of investment; how they are supported, and how many posts there are which are supporting and managing volunteers”
The analysis has now been completed and the report will be made public next month.
The report, which is to be used as a benchmarking exercise for the national National Citizens and Policing strategy action plan, is to be published in November.
It should have an impact on how forces use and manage their volunteers in the future.
Dr Britton says: “The report will highlight areas in which there needs to be more investigation and in particular improvements in data. The research has started to fill in gaps in the knowledge but many important ones still remain”
“The research identifies that there are 4 million hours of voluntary activity undertaken each year across the forces of voluntary activity but we know surprisingly little about some of the detail about how that is managed, what it looks like and what it delivers.”
This benchmarking exercise follows on from a national survey of all Special Constables and Police Support Volunteers that was carried out earlier this year, analysed by the IPSCJ.
The IPSCJ has also recently started supporting another piece of national research for the NPCC which will look at examples of innovative practice in police volunteering across the country.