This year the Student’s Union have support Dyfed Powys Police to set up a Student policing volunteering opportunity. Adele Jones (Citizens in Policing Co-ordinator) has given us a roundup of the scheme and successes of the year!
“This has been quite a journey…
I had heard about the student volunteer scheme run by South Wales Police whereby they recruited students to assist with weekend and night time economy issues, student safety and other issues and I was quite keen to bring this scheme, well at least some of it to our force. My immediate thought for a trial scheme was Aberystwyth University, where better to pilot this approach to engagement with students and the local community – if anywhere is going to make it work, it’s Aberystwyth!
I knew straight away that the students at Aberystwyth University would be up for this challenge – my vision was ‘student walkabouts with the local Neighbourhood Policing Team, delivering pertinent messages from the police and partner agencies to fellow students and local residents’. I have always had fantastic support from the University and hoped that this time would be no different.
Thankfully, I was right, the Students' Union thought our plan could work and were with us 100% from the start. It is clear to me that without their support we could not have achieved the outcomes we have.
The recruitment process as a whole was not without its challenges, for us a police service, there are certain rules we have to adhere to and not everyone fits into the set boxes, so with a little tweaking and creative thinking but without bending too far, we changed the shape of the boxes! I really wanted this scheme to be as inclusive as possible, so that as many students as we could realistically manage could take part.
Student Volunteers on 'walkabout'
We currently have a cohort of 13 student volunteers, who are all committed to the scheme and making it work for them and us. I think that is the key to a volunteer scheme that works, it has to benefit everyone involved. Since their first ‘walkabout’ in February, they have taken part in a few events and I am told that they are enjoying the experience.
Student Volunteers taking part in bike marking
I have learnt some valuable lessons through this process; the force has not run a scheme like this before so I didn’t have any comparisons. Next time, oh yes, I’m quite confident that there will be a next time, I hope the process will be slicker, quicker and easier to manage.
I do hope that they re-join us next term, it would be great to welcome them back to the scheme alongside hopefully some new faces.”
If you want to find out more about volunteering with the Police or any other Student Union Volunteering Opportunity, email Amy Goodwin.