Woodbridge - award for police volunteer
A Suffolk police volunteer was ‘Highly Recommended’ in the British Association of Women in Policing (BAWP) awards held in Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire.
Deborah Lait was nominated for her work as a Police Support Volunteer. Her roles include assisting with the training of police officers and coordinating the constabulary’s role players.
As a role player herself, Deborah has been heavily involved in training exercises, particularly for new recruits.
Deborah, from Woodbridge, said: “We recreate a vast number of scenarios, from minor accidents to assaults. I’ve been shop-lifting, drug dealing; I’ve even been a victim of domestic abuse.”
Last year Deborah played a part in a police training exercise at Pleasurewood Hills theme park, she also assisted by playing lost and attacked, at night, in Thetford Forest, for a multi-agency exercise which involved being carried for miles on a stretcher through the woods.
Around 30 of Suffolk Constabulary’s Police Support Volunteers get involved with role playing. They give differing amounts of time to help with police training because they can see the opportunities it gives the officers.
Deborah said: “They are a fab bunch and we all love what we do.”
On the award, which she received on Tuesday 12 June, she said: “While I am very much appreciated for the work I do, it’s nice to receive a greater recognition. It’s nice for volunteering in Suffolk as a whole to be recognised.
“I volunteer because I can genuinely see the benefit my help gives the constabulary. Some of the work I do has quickly recognisable results and this drives me to want to do more.”
Ian Cheal, Suffolk’s Special Constabulary Trainer, said: “Deborah has been working with me for 18 months.
“With her role-play experience, she provides an extra level of realism that directly benefits students. We are now part of a team engaged in a root and branch review of specials’ training and with her experience and organisational skills from running her own company, she is a valued member of the team. I am so grateful for the help she continues to give me.”
Deborah started volunteering after she saw a feature on TV about a person reading the newspaper to someone who is blind.
“It amazed me how such a small act could greatly improve someone’s life,” she said. “I ‘Googled’ Suffolk volunteering; I got two results and applied to both.”
One was The Befriending Scheme, a Sudbury-based charity, which Deborah volunteered for between 2008 and 2015.
Deborah volunteered in her first constabulary position as a role player in 2007 and also volunteers for other organisations. She is currently volunteering with a charity called Casualties Union which provides trained ‘casualties’ to simulate realism in the teaching of first aid, emergency medicine and rescue. She has also recently started doing some voluntary work with a local hospice.
Deborah described her work with Suffolk Constabulary as extremely rewarding, adding: “It’s very flexible and fits around your availability. It feels like we are doing something for the community in a climate where everybody is saying that the police need to have a bigger impact. If we are helping out then officers have more time to spend on the front line and that can only be a good thing.”
At the moment Deborah’s favourite role is assisting in the training of the Special Constabulary’s new recruits.
She said: “I have assisted in the initial training of groups of officers and see them develop from the day they arrived through to their passing out. I then see them years later and they are amazing officers. I am proud to have played a part in that.”
On Friday 15 June Deborah was also presented with the High Sheriff’s Certificate of Recognition for her hard work and services in Suffolk.
If you or anybody you know would be interested in volunteering or joining the Special Constabulary please email Specialsandvolunteers@suffolk.pnn.police.uk