Inspirational police volunteers recognised at Chief’s awards
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A volunteer who uses her professional experience to help victims of sexual assault, a cadet who provided care to an elderly lady and a special inspector who stepped up during the pandemic were among those recognised last night (11 February) at Chief Constable Simon Cole’s annual awards.
Leicestershire Police’s annual award ceremony was held virtually for the first time, to allow the force to celebrate and honour the hard work, dedication and bravery of its officers, staff and volunteers in a safe way.
Award nominees, their friends, families and the wider force were invited to tune in to the virtual show hosted by Chief Constable Simon Cole and Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon.
Volunteer Police Cadet Matthew Hares, from the Melton Mowbray Cadet Unit, was thrilled to be awarded Police Cadet of the Year. Matt is a caring, kind and dedicated cadet and is committed to volunteering at every opportunity. He came across an elderly lady who had become unwell at a bus stop and stayed with her for three hours until an ambulance arrived, offering reassurance and support to her.
Matt hooked his laptop up to his television and watched the ceremony with his parents. “I am so proud to wear my uniform and represent Leicestershire Police by serving my local community and helping out at events” he said. “I’d like to thank my leaders for nominating me for the award and for supporting me through my years as a police cadet. 2020 was a tough year for everyone and I am thankful to all of the key workers who made our lives that little bit safer and easier – you too deserve an award!”
Another worthy winner was Police Support Volunteer Lynn Ashton, who volunteers her time to support the force’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), Juniper Lodge. Lynn delivers practical and emotional support to victims of sexual assault and has supported them through every step of their journey to recovery.
“I was absolutely thrilled to receive the award for volunteer of the year,” Lynn said. “I choose to give my time to the SARC as I’ve previously worked with domestic violence victims and felt I had the skills to give support where needed. I’m fortunate to have the time to volunteer and have gained great satisfaction knowing I’ve made a difference.”
The Biometrics team, made up of volunteers and special constables who assist the force with processing new applicants, picked up Volunteer Team of the Year. The team offered their services early in the pandemic to ensure the force could continue recruiting police officers and staff. In just nine days, the team processed the number of applications that would usually take six months to complete.
Special Inspector James Blackburn was also recognised for the level of support he provided to the force during the pandemic. He was awarded Volunteer Leader of the Year for his role in leading the Special Constabulary to contribute over 9,000 hours of front line policing in eight weeks. James also liaised with policing commanders to ensure the special constables were deployed to the areas where they could have the most impact.
He said: “I’m really proud of what we were able to deliver in the early stages of the pandemic and it really showed that the Special Constabulary can make a huge impact. I was really fortunate to have the support of my employer, as part of the employer supported policing scheme, to dedicate full-time hours during April and May to my duties as a Special Inspector.
“I’d like to thank all of the officers who contributed to Operation Formidable and continue to balance their home, work and policing commitments in what are difficult times for everyone.”
Former Special Sergeant Jamie Trusler was named Special Constable of the Year in recognition of the long hours he devoted to the force and his proactive, friendly manner. Jamie is extremely knowledgeable in police procedures and systems, and assisted regular officers by gathering intelligence to support their work on the beat. He’s now joined the force full time as a PC and looks forward to a career in policing.
The five annual awards presented to the force’s volunteers are all kindly sponsored by David and Jonathan Saville.
If you’d like to learn more about volunteering opportunities with Leicestershire Police, please visit leics.police.uk/couldyou.
Police Cadet Matthew Hares (top left), Special Inspector James Blackburn (bottom right), and the winner's display on stage for Lynn Ashton, Jamie Trusler and the Biometric Team's awards.