1. Security protective marking
1.1. Not protectively marked.
2. Summary of changes
2.1. The following changes have been made to this policy on 18 March 2013:
- Changes updated to title roles and division name.
2.2. This policy is scheduled for review in March 2015.
3.1. This policy applies to all volunteers (excludes special constables) and all staff who facilitate volunteers and also Volunteer Watch Liaison Officers (VWLOs) on Division and at Headquarters.
4.1. The following policy is intended to set out Kent Police’s approach to the use of Volunteers. Kent Police is committed to the involvement of volunteers and recognition throughout the organisation that volunteering is a two way process which benefits both volunteers and the organisation. Kent Police aims to increase the use of volunteers from the communities it serves and to devise innovative schemes that directly support policing plans at corporate division and departmental level.
4.2. A clear theme of the current Government agenda for reform and modernisation of public services is the development of new ways of involving local communities in shaping the priorities and outputs of public service delivery. One of the Home Office key strategic objectives is to increase the volume of services delivered by the volunteer and community sector with a view to increasing community engagement.
4.3. Kent Police recognises the importance of the work carried out by a Police Support Volunteer (PSV) (formerly known as Community Volunteer) and this policy is aimed at providing them with a standardised and structured recruitment, security clearance vetting, a training and deployment programme and effective utilisation of their specialist knowledge, expertise and skill.
5. Use of volunteers
5.1. Volunteers have been utilised on the understanding that their placement would add value to Kent Police’s service to the public by covering work or functions that we could not otherwise afford to provide – for example front counter service at satellite police stations.
5.2. This policy recognises that, in times of financial constraint, greater use may need to be made of volunteers in order to sustain some services to the public that we would not otherwise be able to fund.
5.3. There will be no general restrictions on the type of role that can be carried out by a volunteer unless that restriction arises out of a statutory provision or the requirement for an investment in training that is unaffordable or disproportionate.
5.4. Volunteers will not be utilised to dispense with the services of members of staff since this would give rise to unfair dismissal proceedings.
5.5. However, where posts have been vacated and they are not replaced in order to make savings, volunteers may be utilised to cover work that is no longer possible to carry out by paid staff.
5.6.The extent of the use of volunteers will remain under review and will be reported to the JNCC (Support) every quarter to provide transparency to Unison and to allow for oversight and to take any necessary interventions to take place regarding any inappropriate use of volunteers or where their placement may block an opportunity for redeployment for a paid member of staff.
5.7. This policy and the use of volunteers will remain under review to ensure that it remains appropriate for the prevailing financial conditions.
5.8. Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) will be recruited into one of three identified categories:
- Customer care and satisfaction;
- Supportive services;
- Community coordination.
5.9. A list of roles that can be undertaken by a PSV is available and has been agreed in consultation with Unison.
5.10. The work undertaken by a PSV is intended to be additional/supplementary to the work currently undertaken by police officers and police staff and is not in any way a substitute or alternative for work that the Force’s full and part time staff are able to undertake. There should be full consultation with staff associations and trade unions on the nature and scope of voluntary activity. Volunteers should not replace paid staff in any way, including during industrial action or other local disputes.
5.11. This policy will contribute to ensuring that police officers, special constabulary officers and police staff are provided with the main principles in respect of the roles and responsibilities attributed to PSVs. (PSVs do not include members of the Special Constabulary). Owing to their unique and historical position the Special Constabulary are not included in the framework of volunteers and have policy and protocols specific to their organisation.
5.12. Kent Police is committed to the principles of equality and diversity as well as the elimination of discriminatory practices. These principles apply to the treatment of all individuals whether members of the public, police officers, police staff, members of the special constabulary or volunteers.
5.13. This policy should be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner. Members of the force administering the policy are responsible for ensuring that in its application, those to whom the policy applies, shall not receive less favourable treatment because of their race, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender re-assignment, disability, age, religion, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.
5.14. Kent Police encourages the innovative use of PSVs. The Volunteer Co-ordinator in conjunction with Human Resources Managers, Department Heads and Business Managers should identify services where PSVs will be used to best effect to enhance service delivery ensuring that people with the appropriate skills and abilities are attracted.
6.1. The aims of this policy are to:
- Ensure Kent Police welcomes and accepts PSVs into the organisational culture, making them feel welcome, that their contribution is valued and is recognised as such.
- Ensure there is a clear understanding of how a PSV can offer support to Kent Police.
- Enable PSVs’ contributions to be mainstreamed into policing plans and activities with clearly defined monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
- Ensure the correct balance between corporate and local initiatives.
- Ensure that support mechanisms are in place through:
- Standardised procedures for the recruitment, training and deployment of PSVs
- Appointment of Volunteer Supervisors at Headquarters and divisions
- Ensure that adequate consultation takes place with staff associations (e.g. Unison), particularly to ensure PSVs are not used or perceived as a substitute for, nor undermine the positions held by paid members of Kent Police or impede future modernisation or career development.
- Ensure that all staff engaging with PSVs are aware of their unique status, that they are not employees and care must be taken not to indirectly create a contract of employment.
7.1. For the purposes of this policy the following definitions apply:
7.1.1. A ‘PSV’ is defined as: - A person who is unpaid and of his/ her own free will, contributes time, energy and skills, and undertakes tasks on behalf of Kent Police to assist in delivery of objectives identified in the policing plan. The policy is aimed at volunteers who are contributing directly to these objectives and therefore a PSV does not include neighbourhood watch co-ordinators or other recognised voluntary organisations (i.e. the search and rescue team etc). The Home Office states that a volunteer is – Someone who commits time and energy for the benefit of society, the community, environment and or Individuals, undertaking this freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain.
7.1.2. A ‘Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer’ will: Be responsible for co-ordinating the recruitment, retention and training of PSVs and identifying where PSVs can be utilised in the force.
7.1.3. A ‘Volunteer Supervisor’ will: Be responsible for the day-to-day management of PSVs. Each supervisor will identify and appoint a designated person who will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the PSVs. It is a matter for Divisions/departments as to who should be delegated a Volunteer Supervisor and it may be a police officer, police staff employee or PSV. This person will be the link between the PSV, Division/Department Managers and the Volunteer Coordinator.
8.1. Kent Police is committed to the principles of equal opportunity (see policy L01) and therefore welcomes applications for PSVs from all sections of the community. Selection and appointment will be administered in a non-discriminatory manner and based on competence and ability for a particular role.
8.2. The force may, at its discretion decline applications from people whose occupation is considered incompatible. The Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer will ensure that the applicant fully understands the reasons for vetting and ensure that vetting is completed prior to appointment. A PSV will not be appointed until he/she has successfully completed the vetting process.
8.3. All initial enquires regarding becoming a PSV will be directed to the Volunteer Warch Liaison Officer. An information pack regarding the roles where PSVs are utilised in the force will then be distributed with the application form.
8.4. Upon receipt of an application form the Force Volunteer Co-ordinator will ensure that the relevant criteria are met.
8.5. PSVs must be a minimum of 16 years old however no upper age limits will be set. The Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer and Volunteer Supervisor will however be responsible for ensuring that the age of potential volunteers is taken into account when carrying out risk assessments for specific roles. Where criteria have been met the potential PSV will be offered a position commensurate with those criteria. Where criteria have not been met, candidates will be afforded a clear structure for feedback and signposting to other agencies with active volunteer programmes.
8.6. The Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer will arrange an appropriate selection process with the appropriate volunteer supervisor. Interviews will examine a candidate’s knowledge of the organisation and how he/she may contribute to the aims and objectives of Kent Police.
8.7. Where a candidate is successful at interview a decision will be made to place him/her where his/her skills will be best utilised. This will ensure that the organisation maximises the benefit that a person can bring. Appropriate placement will ensure retention of this valuable resource.
8.8. Upon appointment the PSV will be issued with a welcome/information pack setting out the expectations of Kent Police and that he/she is a volunteer and not an employee of Kent Police. The new PSV will be provided with a role description by the Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer and a compact which sets out the relationship between the organisation and the individual. PSVs will receive induction training prior to starting a volunteer role with Kent Police in the three main categories:
- Customer Care and satisfaction
- Supportive Services
- Community Co-ordination
8.9. PSVs will receive induction training prior to starting a volunteer role with Kent Police. This induction will cover the following areas:
- Welcome to Kent Police
- Role of the PSV
- Kent Standard
- Health and Safety
- Information Security
- Reward and Recognition
8.10. Training required to perform a specific volunteer role will be provided locally.
8.11. All training delivered to a PSV must be necessary for the performance of the volunteer role and must not exceed what is required and therefore form a consideration.
9.1. All PSVs assisting Kent Police on a regular basis will require security vetting in accordance with the Vetting Procedures: Contractors and Attendees at Police Premises.
10. Responsibilities of Kent Police
10.1. A supervisory structure will be determined and the Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer and Volunteer Supervisors will be responsible for drawing up job profiles and establishing competencies for PSVs.
10.2. Volunteer Supervisors are responsible for drawing up Health & Safety risk assessments. Careful consideration must be given to the PSV’s safety when considering the skills, abilities and attributes to undertake the role.
- Volunteer Supervisors will be responsible for ensuring that the skills of a PSV are utilised to their full potential. Volunteer Supervisors are responsible for deploying volunteers within their capabilities.
- Volunteer Supervisors will be responsible for the Health and Safety of all PSVs in respect of ‘Health and Safety at Work’ and ‘Internal Codes of Practice’.
- The PSVs will be assigned a named supervisor/line manager, the Volunteer Supervisor, who will be responsible for opening and maintaining a personal file. The PSVs must be informed that a record of training received and duties performed will be documented and placed on this file together with a copy of their job profile and personal agreement.
- Volunteers should work alongside experienced police officers and police staff designated for further development and mentoring with the agreement of those staff.
- Volunteer Supervisors will ensure that Health and Safety risk assessments are carried out at all locations where PSVs operate and if any individual circumstance/requirement changes, then advice will be reflected in an individual assessment for that person. PSVs should only be deployed in non-confrontational roles.
- Volunteer Supervisors are responsible for the reporting of any sustained injury or illness which has arisen as a consequence of performing service as a PSV.
- The Force Volunteer Coordinator, in consultation with the staff associations, will be responsible for assessing the suitability of all roles prior to the appointment of a volunteer to ensure compliance with policy.
11. Responsibilities of PSVs
11.1. It is the responsibility of PSVs in receipt of benefits to check with the Benefits Agency that their voluntary activities do not prejudice their entitlements e.g. this does not make them ineligible for paid for employment.
11.2. It is the responsibility of the PSVs to make the Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer aware of any change in circumstances that may affect their ability to perform the role of PSV.
11.3. PSVs will be provided with force identification and if identified as necessary uniform & equipment commensurate to the role to be performed. Identification and uniform/equipment if provided must be worn at all times when on duty. PSVs must wear/use any protective clothing/equipment necessary for their role.
11.4. PSVs will need to contact their nominated Volunteer Supervisor if they are unable to attend when scheduled to do so.
12. Security and Data Protection
12.1. PSVs, the Volunteer Coordinator and Volunteer Supervisors must be aware of policies D01 Information Security and D02 Disclosing Information from Corporate Databases to Volunteers.
12.2. Volunteer Supervisors in conjunction with Department Managers will be responsible for assessing the viability of a PSV having access to: filing systems, etc., and computer systems for word processing if that person is considered to have the necessary skills. If access is required to computer systems the appropriate level of vetting needs to have been completed.
12.3. Access to operational information systems will only be granted on a need-to-know basis in accordance with the role description relevant to the post. In cases where it is necessary for the volunteer to be provided with sensitive information such as intelligence the necessary steps must be taken to ensure that the individual has been vetted to the appropriate level.
12.4. Volunteer Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that all volunteers have been made aware of the Information Security Policy and have been provided with copies of the Minerva security booklets. The receipt of these can be noted on the PSV’s training record.
12.5. PSVs should also be informed of any relevant disclosure limitations and made aware that access to systems may be monitored.
12.6. Knowledge of volunteers’ personal details will be restricted to those who need it and passed on only the volunteers’ consent and regard is given to storage of confidential documents.
13. Duty recording
13.1. Time spent on volunteer duties must be recorded, either by the PSVs or on their behalf by the Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer as appropriate.
13.2. It is recognised that volunteers will be engaged on a variety of activities and that the time required to be spent on them will vary accordingly. The time commitment for individual volunteers should be agreed as part of the recruitment process and form part of the compact.
13.3. It is recommended that the number of hours donated by the PSV should be a maximum of ten hours per week based on a weekly average over a twelve-month period.
14. Complaints made against volunteers
14.1. Individual volunteers are not covered by the Police (Complaints and Misconduct) Regulations 2004 unless the subject matter of the complaint also involves police officers, special constables or police staff.
14.2. In the first instance any complaints regarding a PSV must be referred to the Volunteer Supervisor.
14.3. Any serious complaints regarding a PSV must be referred to the Area Management Team and the Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer by the Volunteer Supervisor.
15. Withdrawal of assistance
15.1. The PSV’s personal agreement between the volunteer and the force can be terminated at any time by either party without a reason being given.
15.2. Where the volunteer decides they will no longer provide assistance to Kent Police it is expected, but not required, that a reasonable period of notice will be given to the volunteer Supervisor to assist in the appropriate resourcing of those area where assistance has been provided.
15.3. Reasons for bringing a volunteer arrangement to an end can provide valuable management information that the Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer will make every effort to hold an exit interview with the volunteer to ascertain the reasons for the volunteer wishing to no longer provide assistance. This will assist Kent Police to plan and develop the role of the PSV in a way that reduces wastage in the future.
15.4. The Volunteer Watch Liaison Officer will be responsible for monitoring and analysing information received from the exit interviews in order to improve the PSV recruitment process.
16.1. PSVs are covered by the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner & Chief Constable Third Party Liability Insurance. They are indemnified under the Third Party Policy for any injury etc they may personally sustain whilst performing duties on behalf of Kent Police, providing the Force is proven negligent and legally liable. Reasonable care must have been taken by the PSV to prevent against such accidents.
17.1. PSVs should receive out of pocket expenses for:
- Public transport costs for travel to and from their place of service, or mileage at local duty rate if using private transport. It is the responsibility of the PSV, not Kent Police, to declare to the Inland Revenue claims made where the rate exceeds the Revenue's maximum approved rate per mile.
- Parking costs where free parking is not available at or within a reasonable distance of a police station or other place of work.
- Miscellaneous costs such as telephone calls, postage, stationery etc. Any claims made must be supported by a receipt.
17.2. Claims should be submitted using a form 1038 Expenses Claim form (police staff) with any receipts.
18. Reward and recognition
18.1. Where a PSV has donated over 9 years service he /she will be invited to a ceremony and presented with an award to mark this achievement.
18.2. Throughout their time with the organisation PSVs will be given feedback on their contribution to the organisation. This will be monitored and given by the volunteer supervisor on a regular basis.
19. Equality impact assessment
19.1. This policy has been assessed with regards to its race and diversity equality. As a result of this assessment, it has been graded as having a low impact.
|Policy reference:||M08 Police Support Volunteers|
|Policy owner:||Chief Superintendent Partnership and Communities|
|Contact point:||Policy Unit|
|Date last reviewed:||18 March 2013|
|Document last saved:||22 June 2013