Everyone a hero: the 999 front line volunteers
- Credit: Supplied by Cambridgeshire Police
Special constable volunteers worked more than 6,700 shifts with Cambridgeshire police in a year and 150 fire service volunteers supported the vaccine rollout.
These are some of the figures to emerge as Cambridgeshire’s emergency services commemorate the efforts of its volunteers, who carried out a variety of roles during the pandemic.
June 1-7 is Volunteers’ Week, where volunteers are recognised for their contribution to communities.
And Cambridgeshire Police and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service have both praised the efforts of its volunteers over the past year.
The police publicly thanked the hundreds of volunteers for their support, from special constable volunteers to cadet leaders.
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Between April last year and this March, specials worked more than 6,700 shifts - the equivalent of 46,000 hours of duty.
They attended more than 2,800 incidents, stopped more than 1,900 vehicles and assisted or made 667 arrests across Cambridgeshire.
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Chief Constable Nick Dean thanked them for “their hard work and determination throughout a very challenging year”.
He said: “Volunteers are an inspiration to us all and I am constantly impressed with their commitment and support and I hope that they act as inspiration to others.”
Darryl Preston, Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, had this message for the volunteers.
"Your commitment, professionalism and determination has been outstanding," he said.
Among those highlighted by the police include: Lynda Taylor, the force’s lead chaplain; Paul Watson, the Leader of Wisbech Police Cadets; and police cadet Billy Cunningham.
Lynda explained the she gets to "sometimes be a supportive ‘friend’ when times are difficult” for officers and staff.
She said: “I also learn a lot about the demands and pressures of modern-day policing, which can inform my conversations with the wider community, including local faith organisations and leaders.
“This can help to build bridges and strengthen neighbourhood partnerships.”
Paul is a public health nurse and gives up his spare time as leader of Wisbech Police Cadets where he delivers training and support to young people.
He said: “Volunteering is not just about what you are giving to others in the form of time or knowledge, it is more about what you are getting from the other team members.
“Being a part of the cadets team helps me to see other perspectives on life, culture, experiences and future opportunities.”
Billy, 17, joined the cadets as a first step towards a career in policing and described his experience as like being in “one big police family”.
He said: “I would definitely recommend volunteering.
“I'm from a gypsy traveller background and the cadets have accepted me like any other cadet, and I have made my way up to become one of the first cadet sergeants for Cambridgeshire police.”
Meanwhile, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue highlighted those who supported the national Covid-19 vaccination rollout.
Around 150 service volunteers, including senior officers, firefighters, call handlers and support staff have given 4,400 hours of their time across the county.
Their roles included helping to set up vaccination centres, assisting patients and marshalling in car parks.
Some were also trained to administer the vaccines by The British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance.
Area Commander Wayne Swales, the officer coordinating the support, said: “We’re really proud of the fantastic support our staff have given to the vaccination rollout.”
“When more sites were needed, groups of staff volunteers helped to setup large-scale vaccination centres in Cambridge, Peterborough and Wisbech."
“Even our chief officers have been pitching in to support the programme. Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland has been a regular helper at the Grafton Centre site in Cambridge.”
He added: “Clearly we needed to balance our core responsibilities as a fire and rescue service and helping with the national vaccination effort.
“We’ve made sure that we have enough crews available to respond to emergencies while offering our partners this level of support.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the police, visit the volunteering pages of the Cambridgeshire Police website.