Police Support Volunteers (PSV) are an invaluable asset to the UK police force. They give their time for free and undertake a variety of roles. The role can be fantastic for anybody wanting to develop their skills and gain some work experience, or for those wanting to give something back and make their community a better place for everybody.
What Is A Police Support Volunteer?
A police support volunteer is somebody who gives their time for free to help the police deliver a service to the public. There are various roles that can be undertaken, which we’ll discuss more about this later.
Police service volunteer is often abbreviated to PSV.
Check out our article for more on police abbreviations.
Why become a PSV?
There are a number of different reasons why an individual may want to become a police service volunteer.
Everybody’s motivations will be different. Below we will go through some of the most common reasons why people want to become a PSV.
Personal development is one of the most common reasons why an individual may want to become a place service volunteer.
For students, it is often an opportunity to gain work experience and help build their CV for when they leave education and seek full-time employment.
Being a police service volunteer can really enhance a CV as not only does it show your dedication to work without pay, but also your ability to work within a large organisation that often deals with sensitive information.
Sometimes people who have been out of work for a period of time, for various reasons, will become a police service volunteers for one of two reasons.
Firstly, if they are not in work due to caring or other similar responsibilities, volunteering for the place can get them out of the house, utilising the skills they have as well as developing new skills.
They also feel part of a team and have interactions outside of their normal life. This can be very empowering for people who do not have the time or the ability to work a full-time job but still want to feel valued and utilise their skills.
Secondly, there are those people who have been out of work for various reasons and want to regain their confidence and skills before going back into the wider job market.
Being a volunteer can do this for them as well as showing I lot of dedication in that they have been willing to give their time to support their community for free.
Being part of a community
Another big reason that people become police service volunteers is that they want to be part of their community. They want to offer their skills and expertise in order to make the community in which they live a better place for everybody.
In addition to this, some people will become a PSV in order to be part of a community themselves. They may be retired I’ll have spare time that they are willing to give and in return can feel part of something bigger as part of the police family.
Interested in Joining the police
Others will become a PSV as they are interested in joining the police either as a police officer or in a police staff role but before committing to that they want to know more about the Police service as a whole.
Undertaking a volunteering role will provide them with an insight into policing.
This can be a great idea, especially for students who are thinking about becoming a police officer, but are still undertaking education and not ready to apply at this time.
Check out this article for more on entry routes into policing.
Who can apply?
Anybody can apply who is over the age of 16 years and has skills to offer or are willing to learn the skills that you will need in order to undertake the role. There is no upper age limit for volunteers.
No formal qualifications are required in order to be a PSV.
How Many Hours Does PSV have to do?
There are no minimum hours per week that volunteers have to commit to. This is something to discuss with the individual force.
Some roles may require somebody who can commit to set regular hours, whereas other roles will be really flexible, you may be able to work 4 hours one week and then nothing for a couple of weeks.
Can you only Volunteer In The Force You Live In?
There is no restriction on where you can volunteer in relation to where you live. So if you are a student living away from home, you can volunteer at whatever force suits you.
Also, if you live on a force border, you can volunteer at whichever one suits your circumstances.
Do PSV get paid?
PSV do not get paid. However, some forces will pay what they call ‘out of pocket expenses’.
This may include things such as travel expenses. This is something to discuss when you make enquiries about before taking on a voluntary role.
What Roles Are Available for PSV?
The roles that are available to police service volunteers will differ from force to force. Having spoken to a lot of forces, some are better than others when it comes to utilising the existing skills of volunteers and they will try and pair them with roles that complement their skills.
Other the forces are not quite as developed and will have set roles in which the place police volunteers.
If you are thinking of kindly donating your time and volunteering to be a police service volunteer this is a question that you will want to ask the force before you continue.
Some of the more common volunteering duties that’s a carried out I police service volunteers include;
- Administrative roles
- Representing the police at community events
- Working on front inquiry desks
- Updating victims and witnesses
- Monitoring CCTV
This by no means is an exhaustive list, and as we’ve said to both, speak with your force beforehand to see what they have on offer.
If you want to be really proactive and have a specific skill you wish to offer, I would suggest contacting the force and offering that skill.
Check out this interview with persons volunteering for Humberside Police as Community Safety volunteers.
How to apply to be a Police Support Volunteer
Individual forces will advertise for police support volunteers on their individual force websites. They may also advertise this via their social media accounts.
However, there is nothing to stop you from calling 101 (the non-emergency number) and asking to speak with the department that organise the volunteers.
Here you can ask if they have any roles available and if you’re interested in anything specific, you can ask.
Will I have To Undergo Vetting as a PSV?
Yes, as a police volunteer, you will have to undertake vetting before being formally offered a position.
Check out our article on police vetting and what the check.
The level of vetting that you will need to undertake as a police volunteer will depend on the role that you are expected to undertake and the amount of access to information you will have.
Will I have to Do a Fitness Test as a PSV?
As a police volunteer, you will not normally need to undertake a police fitness test.
Check out this article for more on the police fitness tests and the roles that will be required to undertake these.
Will I have to Have a Medical as a PSV?
You will likely need to fill in a medical questionnaire as part of your application process. As a police volunteer, you will only be asked to complete a formal medical if something has flagged up on your medical questionnaire.
The reason for this is to ensure that you are only undertaking duties that are suitable for your health.
The Role of a Special Constable
The role of a special constable is still a voluntary one but will mean that you have warranted powers (police powers), like that of a police officer. You will work on a voluntary basis alongside police officers.
For more on the role of a police special constable check out our article which will take you through what the role involves, to give you an idea of what to expect.
Being a police volunteer can be a very rewarding opportunity for anybody. It is for persons from all walks of life. It can give individuals a real sense of belonging, as well as providing them with an opportunity to develop their skills, whilst making a positive difference to the community in which they live.
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