Our Community Police Office: A Legacy of Dedication and Excellence
In 1996, the idea for our community police office was born through the collaborative efforts of Karen Haynes, the neighbourhood coordinator, and Southwater PC Gareth Ellis. This initiative stemmed from Sussex Police's decision to sell all village police houses, including Southwater.
They approached the Parish Council with a proposal to acquire a property for a dedicated Police Office. The council identified a suitable location in the historic part of Station Road, and Sussex Police agreed to co-fund the project. The building was then modified to serve its new purpose.
On September 9th, 1996, our Community Police Office officially opened its doors, and the event even had Sky Television in attendance to capture the moment.
To ensure the office's smooth operation, an advertisement was placed in the local church magazine, calling for volunteers to help staff the office from Monday to Friday, between 09:30 AM and 12:30 PM, and 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM. Initially, 12 volunteers answered the call, and now, they have a dedicated team of 20 volunteers.
For the first five years, Karen managed the office, with David Scott, a retired Surrey Police officer, as her deputy. Karen briefly stepped away from her role, returning in September 2022. Alan Bryan then assumed the managerial position, with David Scott continuing as his deputy. Alan's tenure lasted approximately two years, after which David Scott became the Office Manager, with Bill Smith taking on the role of the training officer.
Since its inception in 1996, our community police office has experienced substantial growth, paralleling the development and expansion of Southwater Village.
The office has relocated five times to adapt to the changing needs of the village, but it has never ceased its service to the community, even during the village's rebuilding. Currently, the office is situated in Beeson House.
In 2006, our community police office was awarded the prestigious Queen's Award for Volunteers, one of the highest accolades given in the country.
During the Southwater Christmas festival, our volunteers are active participants, supporting the event alongside Sussex Police Cadets, further fostering community bonds.
Our dedicated volunteers achieved another remarkable milestone on October 12th this year. They were honoured with the Lord Ferrers Award for Police Support: Team Award by the Home Office. This award, presented to Southwater Community Police Station of Sussex Police, signifies their triumph over police forces across the British Isles, making them the top-ranking volunteers in the country.
Our community police office enjoys unwavering support from every rank within the Sussex Police force. We are proud of the legacy of dedication and excellence that has shaped our office over the years.