Mayor hails the volunteers who help make London a safer place

10 December 2015

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, is calling on more Londoners to join the 1,200 volunteers who give up their spare time to help make the capital a safe place to live, work and visit.

Last year alone, volunteers contributed a total of 25,000 hours of their own time with the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) to help protect the welfare of people being held at police stations through custody visits, and to help monitor and review stop and search. Many volunteers sit on Safer Neighbourhood Boards, driving forward around 200 new projects to reduce crime and help local police engage better with local communities.

There is a huge range of volunteering opportunities available for Londoners who want to help improve police services in their area, including Community Monitoring Groups which raise issues with local police, or in London’s Volunteer Police Cadets scheme. Londoners of all ages can also get involved in engagement and oversight of local police services through Safer Neighbourhood Boards in every borough, which hold the Borough Commander to account for police performance and confidence and are keen to attract younger members.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “An incredible number of volunteers devote a huge amount of their precious time to help make London a safer and better place to be. Their hard work has helped make police custody safer than it has ever been, driven forward new projects to reduce crime in communities and helped to ensure that stop and search is targeted and proportionate across the capital. We want to see confidence in our police force growing, and these volunteers create crucial links between local communities and officers. London’s sense of community spirit is something to be proud of, and I’d encourage Londoners both young and old to consider volunteering and helping to keep London one of the safest global cities in the world”.

In recognition of their hard work, the Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, and Metropolitan Police Commander Jeremy Burton will this evening host a Reception at City Hall for over 200 volunteers, to celebrate and thank them for the contribution they make to increasing transparency in the Met and improving policing in London.

Among the volunteers is fifteen year old Valentina Vettore, Chair of the Redbridge Safer Neighbourhood Board. She said:  “I am passionate about issues relating to crime and policing.  I wanted to get involved with the Safer Neighbourhood Board because adults have their views on what are the most important issues, but if young people aren’t represented nobody hears things from their perspective.  It’s important to empower young people because they are the future adult generation who’ll have to make decisions.”

Roy Croasdaile, Chair of Brent Stop and Search Monitoring Group said: “I volunteer because I am passionate about my community and supporting all those that contribute to the safety of our capital city. It’s great to bring a different perspective to issues and help find solutions, and I really enjoy meeting people from different cultures. There is so much to gain from sharing good practice, and I would recommend volunteering as a rewarding way to learn something new and contribute to your local area.”

Notes to editors

  1. For more information and to apply to become an Independent Custody Visitor, visit: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/mayors-office-policing-and-crime-mopac/community-safety/independent-custody-visitors

  2. For more information and to apply to become a member of a Safer Neighbourhood Board or a Stop and Search Community Monitoring Group, please contact [email protected]

  3. The Independent Custody Visiting (ICV) Scheme involves members of the local community who volunteer to visit police stations unannounced to check on the treatment and welfare of people held in police custody. Their recommendations can require the police to make improvements for the welfare of detainees. Working as part of a local panel, they play a valuable role in maintaining public confidence in this important area of policing. Independent Custody Visitors are entirely funded and employed by MOPAC.

  4. Safer Neighbourhood Boards are in place in every London Borough, bringing police and communities together to decide local policing and crime priorities, solve problems collaboratively and make sure that the public are involved in a wide range of other community safety decisions. MOPAC has made £1m available for Safer Neighbourhood Boards to bid for to fund projects that will help cut neighbourhood crimes and boost public confidence. Safer Neighbourhood Boards have driven forward 200 crime reduction projects across the city using this funding.

  5. Stop and Search Community Monitoring Groups are independent community groups who hold the police to account by scrutinising local use of stop and search and voicing community experiences of street encounters. Overseeing these local independent groups and ensuring that their voice is heard at senior level is a London wide Community Monitoring Network, bringing together the chairs of local monitoring groups and borough police lead officers in stop and search.

  6. ICVs must be 18 years old. Safer Neighbourhood Boards and Stop and Search groups are keen to attract young members. 

  7. MOPAC is also supporting a major expansion of the Metropolitan Police Service Volunteer Police Cadets scheme. Nearly 4,000 Londoners aged 10-19 are now involved. Last year, the Cadets gave almost 200,000 hours of their time to assist their communities in a variety of ways including stewarding at major events such as the London Marathon and Remembrance Day and helping local Safer Neighbourhood Teams with street surveys and leaflet distribution. The scheme teaches basic knowledge in policing activity including arrest and custody procedures, first aid and conflict management. Open to all young Londoners, it continues to become more diverse - 48 per cent of cadets are female and 54 per cent are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.