Volunteers thanked for dedicating more than 107,000 hours

A special constable who dropped everything to help the force following the UK terror attacks last year, and a cadet who still finds time to volunteer despite caring for her younger brother were among those commended for their work at the fourth annual Volunteers in Policing Awards Night.

More than 500 volunteers and guests attended the event tonight (Thursday 14 June) to see 20 awards being given out and scores of people applauded for their time and commitment to the force.

Chief Constable Simon Cole closed the evening and said: “We hold the awards night every year to celebrate the hundreds of incredible people who volunteer for Leicestershire Police as specials, cadets, police support volunteers and chaplains.

“In the last year they volunteered more than 107,000 hours to helping us keep our communities safe, which is a fantastic achievement. I’m very proud to have been able to have joined the Lord Lieutenant, Police and Crime Commissioner, Sheriffs and sponsors to say ‘thank you’.”

The event was held at the King Power Stadium to recognise the effort of the hundreds of people who volunteer for Leicestershire Police as specials, cadets, chaplains and police support volunteers.

Special Constable Karolina Zalewska was among the award recipients and picked up the Special Constables Community Engagement award, sponsored by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach.

Following the UK terror attacks last year, Karolina recognised the increased pressure facing the police force, and the need to provide reassurance to our communities. As a result, she cancelled her plans, put on her uniform and went out on duty to support her regular colleagues.

Delighted with her award, Karolina said: “I am completely shocked and overwhelmed to have won this award! It really means a lot to me to be recognised in this way; I just love being a special. A lot of people ask me if I’m planning on joining the regulars, but I’m honestly not – I just like getting out there and helping people. It’s actually quite amazing that I get to do the role of a police officer, and still have my separate full-time job. I really enjoy volunteering my time and I plan to continue.”

Grace Burton was awarded as our Volunteer Police Cadet of the year, sponsored by the Leicester City Football Club Community Trust.

The 14-year-old is a member of our Loughborough cadet unit, and balances her school work with caring for her younger brother, who has autism, and still finds time to attend every single cadet unit meeting and volunteer in her community at the weekend.

After receiving her award, Grace said: “I’m really pleased I’ve won this award, I wasn’t expecting it at all! It really does mean a lot to me, and I do sometimes struggle with everything going on in my life. For me, being a police cadet is great because I get to learn new, interesting things and also have some fun with friends. I like helping out in the younger cadet’s session too, which is before mine. It’s really nice to have this achievement.”

Liz Cattell, a police support volunteer from Wigston, received the Diversity award, a new award generously sponsored by The St Philip’s Centre.

Liz coordinates monthly visits to the Leicester Centre for Integrated Living, and organises for police volunteers to attend and provide crime prevention advice at their café for ‘Empowering Disabled People’.

Thrilled with her award, Liz said: “I just want to say a huge thank you, and I love going down to the café each month. I really enjoy getting to know all of the people who attend, and they’re great company too. I’ve been going down for about two years now, and everyone’s made me feel so welcome. I just love that I’m able to help people, and I’m so grateful to have won this award.”

Lord Willy Bach, Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The support provided by our small army of volunteers has never been more important. Demand on all areas of policing continues to increase and the skill-set required becomes ever more diverse. Volunteers bring wide-ranging experience and new skills to help keep our communities safe and feeling secure. These awards are a small acknowledgement of the contribution made by our volunteers in so many ways, as cadets, special constables, police service volunteers, independent custody visitors and so on. I would like to thank each and every one of them.”

The awards followed National Volunteers’ week (1 to 7 June), an annual celebration of volunteers across the country that takes pride in highlighting the excellent work they undertake and their contribution to communities.

The force are currently recruiting police support volunteers and specials. Please visit leics.police.uk/join-us to find out if you could join us and make a difference to your community.

The winners on the night were:

• No 1 Copperpot PSV Outstanding Leadership Award – Melanie Smith

• The Everard Foundation SPC Outstanding Leadership Award – Neil Deveney, with James Blackburn and Sam Watson as Highly Commended

• The Cooperative VPC Leader of the year Award – Martin Rawlings, with Wendy Garland and Ash Lorgat as Highly Commended

• Leicester Riders PSV Innovation Award – Jackie Saunt

• The Superintendents Association SPC Innovation Award – John Blagden

• The International Police Association Most Improved Volunteer Police Cadet – Ryan Sheppard, with Jennifer Simpson and Kurt Barnes as Highly Commended

• LPF Medical Scheme Trust PSV Special Recognition Award – Patrick Dunham, with Wendy Garland and Jay Gohel as Highly Commended

• The Leicestershire Police Federation SPC Special Recognition Award – Arvind Mistry

• The Royal Society of Saint George Community Service Award – Victoria Delahunt

• PCC PSV Community Engagement Award – Caitlin Penfold

• PCC SPC Community Engagement Award – Karolina Zalewska

• UNISON Volunteer Police Cadet Unit of the year Award – East Leicester Cadet Unit

• ASCCO SPC Outstanding Team Performance Award – Central Leicester Neighbourhood Team

• City Watch PSV Outstanding Team Performance Award – Biometrics Team, with the Coalville team and Heritage Crime Team as Highly Commended

• City Watch Outstanding PSV of the year Award – Sue Sellers, with Harbans Thiaray and Jackie Saunt as Highly Commended

• LCFC Community Trust Outstanding VPC Award – Lucy Thomson and Josh Stone, with Victoria Delahunt as Highly Commended

• PMAS Outstanding SPC of the year Award – Emily Morgan

• DMU Lifetime Achievement Award – Debbie Rawlinson

Professional photographs of all of our winners will be made available on Friday 15 June.

Thank-you to all of our event partners

• No.1 Copperpot
• The Everard Foundation
• Caterpillar
• Leicester Riders
• The Superintendents Association
• International Police Association
• LPF Medical Scheme
• The Leicestershire Police Federation
• The Royal Society of Saint George
• Unison
• ASCCO
• City Watch
• PMAS
• Leicester City Football Club
• Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner
• St Philips Centre
• De Montfort University

Source:: Leicestershire Police News

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