Volunteers may keep police stations open, says crime commissioner Alan Hardwick
VOLUNTEERS could help provide a higher police presence and help extend the opening hours at police stations.
Alan Hardwick, who was elected the Police and Crime Commissioner for Lincolnshire in November, has spoken to the Target - three months into his new job.
Mr Hardwick has an ambition to see more volunteers helping to deliver policing.
He said: "I am heartened by the fact that there is almost an overwhelming sense that people want to help. This genuine public-spiritedness is what is helping to police the county.
"This is an ambition of mine to create an opportunity for people to volunteer in whatever role that will suit them from volunteer PCSOs, special constables as well as other areas of the operation from on the front counter at police stations to doing secretarial work in the back office.
"I have undertaken that no police station will close while there is an operational and community need for them and I hope that through the use of volunteers we can extend the opening hours of many of these stations.
"There has already been a steady flow of people contacting the force to ask about volunteer opportunities. The main cost from this would be through training and that has already been considered."
Mr Hardwick also wants all police cars, unless needed for covert operations, to be liveried and wants all officers to be in uniform.
He also wants to see police stations used as community hubs, with excess rooms used as meeting rooms for groups and organisations. Mr Hardwick has proposed a two per cent increase in the police precept – money which funds the police through council tax. The increase equates to around seven pence a week.
If approved, it will mean that the commitments raised in his Police and Crime Plan can be met as well as maintaining 1,100 police officers in Lincolnshire.
Mr Hardwick added: "I like to come to police stations and talk to officers about their jobs. I am very impressed by the successes that the various teams throughout Lincolnshire are having from small and large scale operations.
"This is a police force that over the years has produced some excellent results, punching above its weight, despite the fact that we have suffered from under funding by the Government.
"We have overcome that and just get on with the job. We know what is required and that is the safety and security of the people of Lincolnshire."