Read about our member’s new publication: ‘Exploring the Role and Contribution of Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) in an English Constabulary’ by Melissa Pepper, Karen Bullock and Daniel McCarthy
Melissa Pepper has co-authored a publication about Police Support Volunteers (PSVs).
Pepper, M., Bullock, K. and McCarthy, D. (2020) ‘Exploring the Role and Contribution of Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) in an English Constabulary’ Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice Online advance article
Police Support Volunteers (PSVs) - citizens who give their time freely to perform tasks that complement the duties of officers and staff – undertake a variety of roles across every police service in England and Wales. PSVs offer additional capacity to policing, as well as opportunities for enhanced service delivery. PSVs attach considerable meaning to their contribution, and this is found to be instrumental to motivation, satisfaction, and intention to continue. However, creating meaningful opportunities for PSVs is challenging: they are welcome donors of time and skills, but must remain non-essential. Drawing on a survey of 140 PSVs in a large urban constabulary in England, this article considers the contribution of PSVs, exploring findings through two typologies (motivation and role type), and highlighting the importance of feeling and being ‘useful’. The article calls for a more imaginative stance to involving PSVs at a time of shifting priorities and diminishing resources.
The research comes at an important time in the development of PSVs. The changing shape of policing, with increasingly complex tasks, reducing budgets, and pluralising workforces, coupled with opportunities to extend volunteer powers set out in the Policing and Crime Act 2017, arguably points to greater prominence for PSVs going forward. However, capitalising on the benefits that PSVs can bring (engagement, communication, innovation, and a source of skills and expertise) requires a more developed understanding of the role of volunteers in policing. This article contributes to an evidence base that is strikingly under developed in its current form, offering new directions in policy and practice.