Police volunteers have been recognised at an awards ceremony in Southwater for their outstanding contribution to policing.
Police Front Office volunteers at Southwater and Billingshurst marked the 20th anniversary of Southwater Police Office.
The office is run by a team of 20 volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to support the community, liaising between the public and the police.
As well as celebrating the office’s birthday, volunteers were also recognised at the special ceremony for their hard work and outstanding contributions over the years.
Certificates were handed out by Chief Constable Giles York and a number of volunteers also received long service awards.
District Commander, Chief Inspector Howard Hodges, said: “Police Support Volunteers are important to us, they enhance the service that our officers and staff provide by sharing their unique skills and experience.
“I am very proud to have such a group of people willing to give up their own time to help and support not only the police but their community.
“The office is a hub of activity that those local to Southwater rely on. I cannot thank the volunteers enough for what they do and the time they give.”
The organisation was first launched in Southwater in 1996, with the office being the first of its kind in the country.
David Scott, a former Surrey Police officer, has been part of the volunteer force since it launched and has run the organisation for the past 14 years.
He said: “It’s been a wonderful 20 years, it has been interesting and it’s been an important part of my life.
“A lot has happened in that time but the office has gone from strength to strength.
“Of the people who come into the office we can deal with 80 per cent of things without having to contact a police officer.
“I think it is a very important thing because at one point we had the lowest crime rate for quite a few years which shows having the police office here is a good deterrent for crime.”
John Jochimsen, 87, from Southwater, has been a volunteer for the past 19 years.
He said: “I think Southwater is very lucky to have this.
“We have had practically everything from lost dogs to lost children.
‘‘We had one lady bring in an old hand grenade that she had taken from two kids who had been throwing it to each other.
“The woman who was working called everybody out of the office and we had the bomb squad down.’’
Sussex Police is always looking for more volunteers.
If you would like to know more, email email@example.com or www.sussex.police.uk
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