Southwater Police Support Volunteer Profile:
Nancy Brock became a volunteer in 1999. She describes her role with Sussex Police.
Some 17 years ago, as I was passing the Southwater Community Police Office, I noticed a sign in their window advertising for more volunteers. On impulse I called in to find out more, and the more I found out, the more I wanted to become involved.
Of course there were hoops to jump through. I was interviewed in my home by a police officer and the manager of the police office. I was checked out for any criminal record, asked to sign the Official Secrets Act and to abide by the Data Protection Act.
Then there was the training. I learned how to fill out a variety of forms and how to check found property wearing rubber gloves. I became familiar with online reporting and Alpha-Bravo-speak. I was shown the panic button, the kettle and the biscuit tin. I was ready for action!
I had a part time job at the time so was able to commit to half a day a week at the Police Office and have done so ever since. Initially I joined as it was a way to give something back to the community but I have received so much back from the role that the rewards greatly outweigh any small sacrifice on my part. There are about 20 of us and we man the office five days a week in two half day shifts, morning and afternoon. We all perform similar tasks which are based around dealing with enquiries and information received from members of the public, processing it and passing it on to the police, where appropriate, to deal with.
Visitors to the office may simply want directions to the nearest garage, to hand in found property, report lost property or report a crime. We give out leaflets on securing houses and gardens, beating bogus callers, scammers, arbitration schemes, domestic violence and drug information. We work closely with the local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. Over the years we have also dealt with missing persons, knife amnesties and even an unexploded bomb!
In addition to the work we do in the office, we have all received First Aid training and many of us have spent time at the main police station in nearby Horsham, shadowing one of the officers there.
In 2006, coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Police Office, we received the Queens Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community which was presented to the Southwater Community Police Office by the Lord Lieutenant in a special ceremony. The award recognised outstanding achievement for helping others to improve the quality of life.
For more information about volunteering with the Southwater Community Police Office, drop in to see us or give us a call. We are open Monday - Friday 09:30 - 12:30 and 14:30 - 17:00. Beeson House, Lintot Square, Southwater. Tel: 01403 734417