Could you help? Volunteers sought to help police tackle crime
THE public could play a major role in investigating serious crime in Jersey, as the States police are beginning their first large-scale drive to recruit volunteers.
Speaking to witnesses of serious assaults, analysing CCTV footage from crime scenes and supporting the management of convicted sex offenders are some of the roles that civilian Islanders could be deployed in.
Volunteers could be given specific States police uniforms.
A major recruitment drive for paid police officers has recently come to an end. The number of uniformed officers within the States police is currently at the lowest point in years. A total of about 190 officers are on the books, compared to about 240 in 2014.
Acting Chief Inspector Mark Hafey said civilians could free up police officers’ time to be out on the beat and provide ‘added value’ to the force at a time when budgets across all States departments were being squeezed.
Volunteers have been working with the force for the past year, primarily in administration roles, but ACI Hafey said there was now a drive to ‘step it up’ and recruit more to work in a variety of roles.
Volunteer Christina Goncalves, a 21-year-old graduate in criminology from the University of Sussex, has been helping detectives in the Serious Crime Unit to sift through evidence during the murder inquiry in relation to the stabbing of a woman in St Peter. Pamela Nisbet (68) died after suffering a stab wound to her neck following an incident at her home. Her son, Andrew Charles Nisbet (40), has been charged with murder.
ACI Hafey said: ‘We strive to provide a high-quality policing service to everyone in Jersey, and the role of a police service volunteer is to support the regular police in delivering that service.
‘One of the roles they could be carrying out is house-to-house inquiries. If a serious violent assault were to happen now on say, Gloucester Street, officers, in twos, would be out carrying out door-to-door inquiries. That can take up a lot of officers and time. If we had volunteers for that role, who’d be trained, they could accompany an officer instead. I worked on a serious sexual assault case a few years ago and one of the investigating strategies was to speak to every house in the area – there were more than 100. That can take a lot of officers a lot of time. To be able to pair up volunteers with cops would be perfect.’
ACI Hafey said volunteers could be given set uniforms and support in a range of roles, including:
- Live CCTV monitoring on Friday or Saturday nights.
- Working on the visitor reception.
- Dealing with lost-and-found inquiries.
- Helping with admininstration work within the Public Protection Unit, which, among other tasks, manages the Island’s convicted sex offenders.
- Liaising with victims.
- Helping with recruitment, training and development of new full-time recruits.
- Leaflet drops.
ACI Hafey stressed that the force was not reliant on volunteers and if no one came forward it would carry on as normal.
‘The core purpose of PSVs (Police Service Volunteers) is to provide added value by carrying out additional tasks, over and above the core work of the force that will enhance the overall services that we provide. We are also a learning environment, so we can learn from the volunteers who come and work with us.’
Volunteers must be aged over 18, registered to work and live in Jersey, not be involved in any live investigations and pass an appropriate vetting test.
People of all backgrounds and skills interested in volunteering are being urged to contact the force on 612612 or visit jersey.police.uk/recruitment/volunteering.