A POLICE force is launching a new volunteering scheme aimed at getting members out of the public out patrolling the streets.

Durham Police is opening recruitment for Police Community Support Volunteers (PCSVs), a new role aimed at providing a uniformed presence in communities.

They will go on foot patrols, help solve basic crime enquiries and assist in local incidents but will not be involved in confrontational situations.

Inspector Kevin Tuck, who is leading the scheme, said: “The special constables are well established and have the same powers as fully paid up police officers which mean they can sometimes end up in dangerous situations.

“That’s not for everyone. Some people might be attracted to work with us but they don’t want that aspect.”

Mr Tuck added that the scheme is not about replacing a community presence lost because of cuts to the police service.

He said: “The focus is on being visible and providing a reassuring message.

“It’s not about replacements or cutbacks, it’s something additional.We hope it will be a success.”

He added: “I fully believe if austerity had not taken place and there had been no reduction in numbers this is still something we would be looking at.

“Regardless of workforce modernisation, this is something we want to do.

“I think in years to come, we could look at this sort of as the special constables.”

They are hoping to establish the volunteers initially in Barnard Castle, Stanhope, in Weardale, and Sedgefield but are asking for people from all over the county to apply.

It is based on a scheme in Lincolnshire, which was thought the be the first of its kind in the country when it was established several years ago.

Volunteers will be expected to build positive relationships with the local community and support initiative like Community Speed Watch and PACT priorities.

Insp Tuck said: “We’re looking for positive, public-spirited people to volunteer in the heart of their local communities and build relationships with those who live and work there.

“Successful candidates will be given support and training within neighbourhood teams to strengthen community links, providing additional visibility, reassurance and familiarity.

“This non-confrontational role is a great opportunity for people to give something back to their community, while making friends and developing life skills.”

Applicants must be able to commit a minimum of four hours a week for at least 18 months and will be subject to a selection procedure and vetting process.

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, said: “I am very excited about this innovative initiative.

It will give people the opportunity to make a real difference by working alongside front line officers and providing valuable reassurance and visibility within our communities.”

Successful volunteers will be based within a neighbourhood beat team and will be supported by fulltime officers.

Travel expenses, uniform and training is provided.

People have until February 12 to apply.

For more information, visit durham.police.uk, or call 101 and ask to speak to a neighbourhood inspector or ask for Sarah Jones in the HR department.

  • For more information, visit durham.police.uk, or call 101 and ask to speak to a neighbourhood inspector or ask for Sarah Jones in the HR department.