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Celebrating dedicated volunteers

Two volunteers from Cornwall have received a Commissioner’s Award for their outstanding contribution to ensuring the welfare of detainees in their communities.

Celebrating dedicated volunteers

Julie Dowton from Launceston and Maria Hassell from Saltash, who both volunteer as independent custody visitors, have been presented with an award by the Police and Crime Commissioner on International Volunteers Day (5 December).

Independent custody visitors are volunteers from the local community who visit police custody centres unannounced to check on the treatment of detainees, the conditions in which they are held and ensure their rights and entitlements are being observed. They check all parts of the custody centre, ensuring that all materials, including food and medical supplies are in date, kept clean and stored correctly.

The scheme is run by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and provides transparency and reassurance to the public about the treatment of detainees whilst held in custody.

The awards were presented at a volunteer’s day celebration in St Melion where OPCC volunteers, including custody visitors, police dog welfare volunteers and councillor advocates, were invited to celebrate their contribution to communities and meet the Commissioner.

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the dedicated and hard-working volunteers we have in Devon and Cornwall. I am delighted to meet everyone here today and thank them for all the work they do across our two counties – they really are a credit to our communities.

“The skills and experiences members of the public can bring is invaluable to the police, whether that’s in our cities, towns or villages.

“It’s always humbling to meet people who go above and beyond to ensure their communities are safe places to live, work and play.”

Julie Downton says she loves volunteering with both the OPCC and Devon and Cornwall Police. “It’s absolutely fantastic - I’ve met so many new people whilst doing something positive for the community.” She said

“There are such a variety of roles available once you get involved with one you’ll want to do more!

“It’s lovely having occasions like today where we can meet up with all our fellow volunteers from across the two counties and it makes you feel really valued.”

If you are interested in volunteering opportunities within the OPCC please contact the office or phone 01392 225555.