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Volunteer PCSOs welcomed into force by Lincolnshire police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick

By SMorris_LE  |  Posted: December 12, 2013

Alan Harwick
Comments (11)

The first Volunteer Police Community Support Officers (VPCSO) in the country have been welcomed into 'the Lincolnshire Police family' by police and crime commissioner Alan Hardwick.

Twelve volunteers will work alongside PCSO mentors as they work towards becoming VPCSOs and help the force police an area of more than 2,000 square miles.

During a ceremony at police headquarters in Nettleham, Mr Hardwick said he had every confidence that the scheme would work and that it was not policing on the cheap.

"This is not a new idea but nobody has ever brought that idea to fruition," said Mr Hardwick.

"They are the first of what I hope will be maybe as many as a couple of hundred volunteer PCSOs within the next two years.

"The scheme is being watched very closely by government and other police forces. I have absolutely no doubt that when it is a success other forces will decide to recruit their own VPCSOs.

"It is not policing on the cheap. These people will enhance the policing of the county and are not replacing anyone. They are in addition to the warranted officers and special constables that we have."

Mr Hardwick went on to say that the volunteers, although not paid employees, will be getting something in return.

"We will be benefiting from having volunteers but it is important that they get something out of the experience too," he said.

"It is a case of what is in it for them and that will vary for each volunteer.

"Some will be looking to help communities and offer support while some will be looking to build a CV.

"We will help them with that.

"I am immensely proud. I am proud that Lincolnshire is a force that has always punched above its weight and that we are going to be the first force to have VPCSOs."

VPCSOs will have the same powers of PCSOs and the initial twelve volunteers will start their training in February.

It is estimated that the cost of training and kitting out a VPCSO will be around £1,200 and police bosses say that investment will be repaid within 10 months with the hours they will patrol the streets.

One of the volunteers, student Lilly Collins, said she signed up for work experience.

"I am studying forensic science and I really wanted to get some hands on work experience," said the 19-year-old.

"I can't wait to get out on the streets now and meet new people and learn new skills."

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11 comments

  • InsideStory  |  December 12 2013, 6:45PM

    PCSO's have no place at all in my opinion unless you train them be proper coppers with honesty and integrity ,I have lost all faith in the honesty of the police in general due to many instances we have seen on the television and read in the media and even going as far back has the miners strikes .many issues including officers belonging to secret society's which in my view should be made illegal . There is no point in having half measures here police need powers to function so what is the point in having people who look nice in uniforms if they are not serving a fully functional purpose ?The police have unpaid snitches in our community's to give them information so why pay someone to walk streets and get friendly with the local's to fish out what's going on in the streets .We used to have Real Coppers years ago who knew everyone and what they where up to and people respected them so what worked then could still work now . Targets have no place in honest policing due to some ambitious coppers booking people for jumped up incidences just to get promotions . The big issue in all this is those who do the recruiting getting the right people in the first place and monitoring them for best performance (not booking performance) throughout their career .

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  • GedlingTnPeck  |  December 12 2013, 4:13PM

    "It is not policing on the cheap". says Mr Hardwick - yes it is if you dont intend to pay them. It would not surprise me if these volunteers will replace paid Policemen asMr Hardwick freely admits he is struggling with the budget. He kids no-one that this is a way to keep within budget - well lets start by asking Mr Hardwick for the £50,000 back that he cost the force for a nonsense and spurious allegation against the Chief Constable and add to it his own salary of £65,000 for doing a nonsense job by resigning and getting rid of these jobfor the boys waste of public money Police commissioners By the way Lucy Collins Volunteer this will teach you nothing about forensic science as you wont get close enough to a real crime. And furthermore if you are in it to meet people, well words defy me there are plenty more worthwhile volunteer opportunties - you really need to get out more.

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  • theknowitall  |  December 12 2013, 1:16PM

    Unfortunately Mr Hardwick, if you thinned out this story it would amount to the latest 'Police' recruit being a 19 year old who wants to meet new people and will work for free. I actually wish Lilly Collins well but who are you going to recruit to tackle the not so nice people out there and with the power and more realistic motives to get the job done.

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  • Holdingham  |  December 12 2013, 10:13AM

    There us a distinct overlap here between this "new grouping" of volounteer PCSO's and the existing groups including the Neighbourhood Watch. Whilst I can just about see the demarcation in roles I think it will be come too complex to manage and maintain enthusiasm.

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  • Hertsman  |  December 12 2013, 9:58AM

    I agree with Jane Thompson,why have VPCSO's when a Special is far more useful and still a volunteer. Maybe this is another ego trip by Mr Hardwick as the first to introduce VPCSO's? At least training invested in a Special could be channelled to a PC should they so choose. I've experienced the effect on police personnel of civilians and volunteers and unless they are very good, it takes a long while, if ever, to be respected. Just demoralizes an already demoralized work force. They want officers not plastic look alike.

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  • Blue_Mooner  |  December 12 2013, 9:43AM

    Fair dos if it actually works, but I can't help think this hobby bobby volunteering will not enhance things at all. It sounds as though they will be security guards without a wage but a useful uniform for fancy dress parties. They won't have any powers as JT says below. Resources would be far better spent increasing those who can enforce the law. "Crime won't crack itself"

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  • Whiley45  |  December 12 2013, 8:59AM

    Another daft idea. Almost as daft as the appointment of Mr Hardwick and his ilk. People are fed up of volunteers and volunteering. A full-time job for a good wage is the way to go. I hate to say it but back to the way things were. I am sure the moral of real Policemen has taken another hit!

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  • camelherder  |  December 12 2013, 6:26AM

    Lincoln has a large student population and is a tourist city gaining in popularity via recommendations through the national media yet there is too much reliance on PCSO's to police the city. Perhaps Mr Hardwick could enlighten Lincoln's residents as to why they hardly see an officer on the beat unless of course one of the following apply: 1. Lincoln are playing at home 2. There is a demo on 3. There is a special event such as the recent Christmas market 4. They are on their way to court PCSO's have their place but how much has it cost to give the VPCSO's the required training and to kit them out in uniform. I wouldn't mind betting it would have gone a long way to putting another officer on the streets of Lincoln.

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  • InsideStory  |  December 12 2013, 5:41AM

    The target is never going to happen people cant afford to do things for nothing these days,and what is the good of having someone who has no power when the public have no faith in pcso's and they get paid .Train the PCSO's to be real coppers and stop asking for something for nothing .

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  • Phil1W  |  December 11 2013, 9:53PM

    If paid P.C.S.O.'s are "plastic coppers" what does that make these volunteer ones?

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