Exploring views of Police Support Volunteers in England and Wales

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report

Abstract

This report provides a summary of national findings from 1,305 responses to a survey undertaken across England and Wales of Police Support Volunteers. This is the largest response ever to a survey of PSVs, representing a response rate of 17% nationally. Response levels were variable across forces, but with responses by at least some PSVs from 39 forces.

The results from the survey of PSVs are predominantly positive. This reflects similarly positive patterns of response in previous surveys in 2016 and in 2018. There are some improvements in response to the 2021 survey compared to 2018, reflected in the key statistics summary on the next page of this report, and which reflect some enduring strengths for the PSV programmes across forces. A third of PSVs say that their experience as a volunteer has been a lot better than they expected when joining. A large majority of PSVs feel they are adding value, describe their morale as high, say they intend to stay, feel valued, feel part of a team with good relationships with others in policing, and feel well recruited, trained, supported, and equipped.

The results of the surveys highlight the large impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had for PSVs, with a third of respondents having not volunteered in the past year. For those who had volunteered during this time, the amount of time volunteered was lower for over half of the sample, and around a third undertook different tasks compared with those normally completed before the pandemic. Just under a third of those who had continued to volunteer during the pandemic had stopped volunteering for at least a short period of time. It is clear the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted and reduced the volunteering of PSVs. The challenges will be to effectively re-engage, whilst also learning from some of the good practice reflected in the survey responses in terms of models of communication with volunteers.

In terms of considerations for further improvement for PSV programmes based on the findings, two broad areas emerge across the survey responses, which are consistent with the findings from the surveys undertaken with PSVs back in 2016 and in 2018:

- A desire by some PSVs to be better engaged and utilised, including seeing improved utilisation of existing skills, requests for more opportunities for further training and skill development, and wanting to see a greater range of roles for PSVs.
- Improvements in communication and culture. PSVs need to be better understood, integrated, and have an improved sense of belonging and of being valued.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherInstitute of Public Safety, Crime and Justice
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

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