Countywide: National recognition for a Special scheme
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The support provided by two businesses to policing in Essex has been recognised nationally.
Network Rail and Wave Utilities are members of our Employer Supported Policing scheme and, through this, they allow employees who are special constables a certain number of paid days or hours out of their job to help police their local communities.
The contribution made by both organisations was acknowledged at the Lord Ferrers Awards, which recognise outstanding contributions to volunteering in policing.
Network Rail, which supports two Specials in Essex, won the Employer Supported Policing Award and Wave Utilities, which supports one, was named runner-up.
While retired crime reduction officer Tony Ellis, who now volunteers his time to co-ordinate a national online problem-solvers forum for police officers and staff, was shortlisted in the Volunteer of the Year category.
Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington says: “I’m delighted that two businesses which provide such valuable support to our Specials have been recognised for their backing.
“Employer Supported Policing is a great partnership between businesses and policing and a fantastic way for firms to help protect their local communities and ensure they are safe places to live, work and visit.
“And for Tony Ellis to be shortlisted for his valuable work co-ordinating a nationwide police problem-solvers forum is a wonderful acknowledgement of his continuing commitment to policing and crime prevention.”
The ESP scheme is tailor-made to suit each individual organisation signing up and to benefit their employees who are volunteer Specials. We have 38 firms registered, supporting a total of 58 Specials. Essex Police is also a scheme member, with 45 members of our police staff also volunteering as Specials.
“It’s tremendous news that Network Rail has been acknowledged with the Lord Ferrers Award for Employer Supported Policing. “We’re committed to supporting and empowering our staff to volunteer as special constables and are very proud of the contribution they make to keeping people safe on and off the railway.” Nick Radford, Network Rail’s Head of Operational Security, Crime and Resilience
Wave Utilities registered for our ESP scheme in June 2019 and staff who are Specials are allowed up to ten days per year paid time off to volunteer in their local communities. During the past 18 months, Wave also allowed its Specials additional time to assist police forces during the pandemic. In Essex, Wave supports its commercial customer manager Special Constable Perry Woolner, a member of our Road Crime Team, who is also a police search specialist.
Les Hawkins, Essex Police’s Specials Supported Policing Co-ordinator, says he is thrilled Wave’s commitment to the ESP scheme has been acknowledged nationally and he particularly praises HR Director Jane Austin for her support.
“Jane’s personal enthusiasm for the scheme really shines through and she actively promotes the scheme at every opportunity. “During National Volunteers’ Week in June, Jane took time from her busy schedule to spend a day on patrol with Perry to get a real insight into how the Wave special constables make a difference in their communities. “And they both worked with us to produce ESP promotional material aimed at employers, including a leaflet showing various case studies and a short video. Since then, 12 new Essex firms have registered and created their own bespoke schemes which suit their business needs.” Les Hawkins, Specials Supported Policing Co-ordinator
"Wave allows me 10 days a year on top of my annual leave entitlement to undertake police duties and to attend training courses. “I feel suitably supported and a lot of the senior managers are genuinely keen to understand what I get up to; obviously some bits I can’t mention, suffice to say, they are content with what I can tell them! “The training offered to special constables in Essex is identical to that given to the regular police officers. Some of it is clearly transferrable. For example, I drive around the country a lot and my Police Response Driving Course up-skilled my levels of observation, anticipation and overall road safety awareness which I bring back into my day job and social driving.” Special Constable Perry Woolner
“Wave really cares about our employees and, even before we were aware of the ESP scheme, we decided to give our staff who were Specials an additional ten days’ paid leave to support them. We initially had three Specials but two have since left Wave to join their local police force as regular police officers. We see that as a really good thing as we have enabled people to do what they want to do. “There are so many benefits the scheme brings to an organisation and the payback of watching staff develop transferrable skills through their policing training is amazing. “As an HR Director, I deal with many employee cases, including stalking, domestic violence and other difficult situations, and Perry has been able to give me immediate advice and guidance on these issues and share his specialist knowledge and training. “I can’t recommend enough the value to the business of supporting this great national scheme, which is why we helped Essex Police to develop materials to encourage other businesses to support their staff as volunteer special constables.” Jane Austin, HR Director, Wave Utilities