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Police out in force to collect volunteering awards

21 May 2015

Rachel Atkinson

UCLan policing students awarded prizes at the annual event  

Pic: The UCLan Community Team of the Year 2015 with British Transport Police Superintendent Peter Mason.  

The volunteering efforts of students and young people in Lancashire have been celebrated at a special awards ceremony.

More than 100 students* were honoured by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for giving up their own free time to make a difference to communities across county.

The annual event, which saw 12 awards distributed, was organised by UCLan’s Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership (CVCL). During the 2014/15 academic year, the CVCL recruited and inducted 1,804 students into volunteering. Throughout the year these students have contributed 20,408 hours of volunteering action, equating to just over £255 million to the local economy. Since 1999 the Centre has inducted over 10,000 volunteers.

The big winners on the night were UCLan’s policing students as they won two awards.

“This event highlights the dedication and commitment shown by all special constables who volunteer, without pay, and give up their time, day in day out, week in week out, to serve the public and help keep the streets safe."

Forty four students from the foundation policing programme collected the Joe Medforth Challenge Award. The students, who volunteer as Special Constables with Lancashire and Merseyside police forces, won the annual memorial prize for their work to improve the quality of life of individuals who feel isolated as well as solving local problems and deterring anti-social behaviour. The Joe Medforth Award honours the UCLan student who was killed in 2006 on his way home from a night out.

A further 18 policing students won the UCLan Community Team of the Year for their volunteering efforts with the British Transport Police (BTP) C-Division Special Constabulary. During a 10 week placement with the BTP, the undergraduates were allocated investigations, supported rail staff and the passengers and provided a visible presence to deter crime on the network. They also assisted with policing large events such as the Grand National, at Aintree Racecourse, and various football fixtures.

Bob Helm, Senior Lecturer in the School of Forensic and Investigative Sciences and Course Leader of the Foundation Degree in Policing at UCLan, said: “This event highlights the dedication and commitment shown by all special constables who volunteer, without pay, and give up their time, day in day out, week in week out, to serve the public and help keep the streets safe.

“During 2014/15 the CVCL has gone from strength to strength in engaging UCLan students in social action, whilst at the same time enhancing their learning experience."

“These prestigious awards specifically recognise those special constables who are students from the Foundation Degree in Policing and rightly so. They chose to step out of their comfort zones and make a difference and I know how hard they have all worked. I would like to congratulate them all; they richly deserve this recognition and we are very proud of them indeed.”

These policing students are ‘sworn in’ as special constables during the first year and perform on duty from then on to complement their studies. This year the students have performed around 25,000 hours of duty which is the equivalent of one officer for over 12 years for free. Many of these students will join the policing profession at the conclusion of their two year course.

British Transport Police Superintendent Peter Mason said: “The achievement of the BTP UCLan Specials is testament to the hard work, dedication and professionalism demonstrated by them over the past 12 months. The hours they have given up as volunteers to BTP is exceptional.

“BTP has worked with UCLan for the past four years, welcoming students as part of the foundation degree and we look forward to continuing this working relationship. I would like to congratulate each of the specials on achieving this award, it is well deserved and great recognition for their hard work and tremendous efforts.”

Dr Alethea Melling MBE, Director of the CVCL, said: “During 2014/15 the CVCL has gone from strength to strength in engaging UCLan students in social action, whilst at the same time enhancing their learning experience.

“The big focus this year has been on mentoring and community enterprise, with students supporting young people in making positive changes to their communities through student led projects in schools such as Burnley UTC, Marsden Heights Community College and St Bede’s Blackburn.

“Also, we have seen a significant growth in student led social enterprise through the UCLan funded Higher Education Volunteering Fund. These include brilliant ventures such as PANDA, set up by UCLan students as a social enterprise that support children with neurological disorders. Students have left a positive footprint internationally as well as here in Lancashire through their work setting up a mentoring project for an orphanage in Morocco and peer leadership in Oman, as well as numerous other contributions.”