Avon and Somerset Police are launching a Volunteer Driver scheme in Bridgwater and looking for new volunteers to support local police. Now in its second year, the scheme is running from Bristol into Somerset and aims to improve their efficiency and free up officers to respond to priority work.

How do volunteer drivers help?

In the first year of operation, Avon and Somerset volunteer drivers based in Patchway saved 927 hours of police officer and PCSO time, an equivalent cost saving of £11,310. A further £3,906 has been saved on direct costs including car parking. In addition to saving money, the scheme has helped reduce pressures associated with travel like dealing with traffic, finding parking and leaving sufficient time.

Volunteer drivers help with tasks like collecting detainee medication or driving officers conducting enquires in busy locations such as town or city centres. Not only does this enable officers to keep working on laptops or mobile phones, but it ensures our police cars are being used efficiently and not tied up all day for one appointment.

Why do people volunteer as drivers?

Atul has been volunteering in Bristol for almost a year. He said,

I wanted to give back to the community and help local police. Police are so overstretched and working with tight budgets, so I felt offering my time would be worthwhile and help free officers and staff to be able to better prioritise their work efficiently.”

I looked at other roles within Avon and Somerset Police however as Retired Senior Engineer from Rolls-Royce, I did not want to get stuck in the office and I was not prepared to have any contact with public until the job description of volunteer driver caught my eye.

I enjoy getting behind the wheel and helping take control organising on-going schedules of that day. Meeting different people, talking about their role in the force and listening to their interesting stories and experiences. If you enjoy driving, then I would certainly recommend as I have found out that how much people using the service appreciate and the smile you get from these people is more than enough.”

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen said,

“Support from volunteers maximises the amount of time officers and staff spend carrying out their core roles, leaving them free to focus on providing the best level of service to the public.”

“This scheme is all about embracing trusted members of the community who wish to participate in policing. Volunteer drivers have saved us time and reduced costs. Feedback from the Bristol scheme suggests the service has made a positive impact on officer and staff wellbeing, and our volunteer drivers feel valued too.”

Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible and training will be scheduled in the coming months with the scheme due to go live later in the year. For more information, please visit http://bit.ly/PoliceVolunteerDrivers

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