'I can't praise the people who do the role highly enough': TV's Penny Lancaster on her time with Cambridgeshire Police as a Special
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TV star Penny Lancaster says she has been 'inspired' after spending time with our county's cops for a Channel 4 programme.
Penny, who was placed on the frontline with Cambridgeshire Police as part of the TV series Famous and Fighting Crime, is now urging people to consider becoming a special officer.
The series which was broadcast earlier this year saw Penny, who is married to singer Rod Stewart, come face to face with a woman claiming she was going to stab her with a needle.
The dramatic scene shook up the television star who, in her training, was brought to tears after an officer pretended he was a shouting criminal.
The regular Loose Women panellist said: "My time filming with Cambridgeshire Police was a revelation. I was so impressed by the work the police do all the time, which often goes unseen.
"The fact that some officers do their role in their spare time, without pay, and alongside a regular career, was just inspiring.
"I experienced first hand how they put themselves in harm's way and go towards danger when others are running away."
In April this year, Penny became a patron from the charity Care of Police Survivors (COPS), which supports families of police officers and staff who die on duty.
"I can't praise the people who do the role highly enough and I would urge anyone who would like to help others to think about becoming a Special", Penny added.
"It gives you confidence, professional training and a unique opportunity to meet people, see life and really make a difference.
"It may seem a lot to give but the rewards more than compensate."
As Volunteers' Week begins across the country, Chief Constable Nick Dean praised all of the people who volunteer to support policing in Cambridgeshire.
He said: "We have great, professional and committed volunteers across the whole of policing and here in Cambridgeshire is no different.
"From police cadets and their leaders, to Special Constabulary members, to members of the public who assist us within the organisation, I am sure there are many more.
"Their work never goes unnoticed or unappreciated."
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Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: "I am proud and grateful of all of our volunteers and this year, in particular our Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) who recently achieved Silver Standard at an awards event in the House of Lords.
"ICVs make unannounced visits into custody cells to check on the welfare of detained persons.
"The chief constable and I both recognise the enormous contribution our volunteers make and remain impressed by their level of commitment, professionalism and determination.
"Whilst we recognise that people are able to make different levels of commitment, whatever they give goes a long way in the local community and is hugely valued."
Last weekend (June 1) was national 'Specials Weekend'. Volunteer officers in Cambridgeshire joined colleagues throughout England and Wales in getting out and about showcasing the support they provide to regular officers.
On Saturday in Ely, Specials ran a road operation in which 12 drivers and seven passengers were reported for not wearing a seat belt.
Two children were found not wearing a seat belt while another motorist was caught using a mobile phone while driving.
In 2018/19, Specials completed nearly 7900 duties, which equates to more than 51,000 hours worked. The force currently has about 220 Specials.
Taner Zor, 38, has been a pharmacist for more than 10 years and worked at Peterborough City Hospital since 2015. He graduated as a Special in November.
Taner said: "There are many reasons I became a Special but first and foremost it was to do something different.
"I wanted to get more life experience than I could get doing my current job and it's also a confidence boost.
"Doing it has given me more confidence than I ever thought possible and that's come from the training and support I've had, both before graduation and on the job with E-relief at Thorpe Wood Police Station."
What keeps him volunteering?
"I like that fact that I'm helping people and making a difference in my own small way. I also like the sense of being part of a team and that unique feeling it gives you.
"After I have finished a shift I feel a sense of accomplishment, that I have experienced something."
For more information, visit: www.cambs.police.uk/specialconstable