Southwater Police Support Volunteer Profile:
Southwater Police Support Volunteer Profile: Nancy Brock
Nancy Brock became a volunteer in 1999. She describes her role with Sussex Police.
Some 10 years ago, as I was passing the Southwater Community Police Office, I noticed a sign in their window advertising for more volunteers. On impulse I called in to find out more, and the more I found out, the more I wanted to become involved.
Of course there were hoops to jump through. I was interviewed in my home by a police officer and the manager of the police office. I was checked out for any criminal record, asked to sign the Official Secrets Act and to abide by the Data Protection Act.
Then there was the training. I learned how to fill out a variety of forms and how to check found property wearing rubber gloves. I became familiar with the police computer system, completing paperwork, email and the phonetic alphabet. I was shown the panic button, the kettle and the biscuit tin. I was ready for action!
I work part time so was able to commit to half a day a week at the Police Office and have done so ever since. Initially I joined as it was a way to give something back to the community but I have received so much back from the role that the rewards greatly outweigh any small sacrifice on my part. There are about 20 of us and we man the office five days a week in two half day shifts, morning and afternoon. We all perform similar tasks which are based around dealing with enquiries and information received from members of the public, processing it and passing it on to the police, where appropriate, to deal with.
Visitors to the office may simply want directions to the nearest garage, to hand in found property, report lost property or report a crime. We give out leaflets on securing houses and gardens, beating bogus callers, arbitration schemes, domestic violence and drug information. Our local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme is run from our office. Over the years we have also dealt with two missing persons, a knife amnesty and even an unexploded bomb!
In addition to the work we do in the office, we have all received First Aid training and many of us have spent time at the main police station in nearby Horsham, shadowing one of the officers there. There have also been opportunities to accompany a police officer on patrol which makes for an interesting evening out!