One great strength of volunteers is their flexibility to meet diverse needs within a force and community. Creativity and innovation in role development should be encouraged to ensure volunteers bring added value to the force.
When developing appropriate roles, it should be remembered that police support volunteers are not there to replace paid employees. Examples of established roles include:
Suitable roles should be identified before recruitment takes place. You will need some understanding of why individuals volunteer, their levels of commitment and lifestyles.
Volunteers offer their spare time but have other commitments that they need to work round. It is therefore important that roles should be diverse in terms of skills, location, time etc. Short-term projects and tasks can be advantageous where individuals are unable, or do not wish to commit for long periods of time.
i. Effective roles
Provide volunteers with a role description which details the purpose, tasks and, where appropriate, skills or experience that may be required. This will ensure that:
roles should directly contribute to core policing activities and have clearly defined outcomes. They should reflect priorities both within the police service and local community, adding meaning and purpose. It is important that volunteers understand their place in the bigger picture, and how their contribution benefits the force and local community.
The training requirements of the role should be carefully considered to ensure appropriate training can be provided. Volunteers should not be asked to perform a task that requires training that the force cannot provide either through cost or availability.
Volunteers need to receive supervision and support to ensure they are effective in their role. They will require different levels of support from a suitably appointed person. It is recommended that this supervisor is a paid employee rather than a volunteer so there is greater accountability.
These documents are supplied as examples of good practice by participating forces.