Press Releases 2017

UWTSD Public Service students recognised for work with Swansea Help Point

10.07.2017

The work of South Wales Police’s volunteers from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David was celebrated at an awards ceremony at the Dragon Hotel in the centre of Swansea today. The event recognised the contribution made by students from the university’s Public Services courses to local police initiatives, including the Swansea Help Point. The event was also attended by Bonnie Navarra, the Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.

Students and Police

The event recognised 10 students who have been part of the initiative since its inception in 2014. For the 10, it was the perfect day as after collecting their certificates for their important contributions to policing, they were heading down to The Brangwyn Hall to Graduate and pick up their Degrees.

Bronwen Williams is a Senior Lecturer on the Public Services courses at UWTSD. She said: “Today we’ve organised a ceremony of recognition for our students. They’re all students hoping to go on to work for the police force and we’ve organised it with South Wales Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office. It was only appropriate that we showed some recognition for the hours that they have put it and that they receive certificates for it.”

In total, 65 students have clocked up over 9,500 hours since June 2016, giving up their time to assist police with the management of the night time economy and crime prevention campaigns in Swansea.

Volunteer work has been vital to the existence of a number of successful initiatives in Swansea, such as Police Walkabouts, which are house-to-house visits offering crime prevention advice to students and residents – they have helped reduce the number of burglaries in some areas by 40 per cent; also, the student volunteers patrolling and identifying vulnerable people in and around the city centre at night time – and the innovative Help Point in Wind Street.

The Help Point Joint partnership between Crime Commissioner/Police/WAST/Health Board was set up in September 2014. Notable successes based on a recent independent evaluation report, highlighted a 80 per cent reduction in Emergency Department attendances as a result of Swansea Night Time Economy, 1300 less ambulance attendances and cost savings of more than £650K split between all partners over 12 months.

Bonnie Navarra, Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The Swansea Help Point is a fantastic initiative that helps us to find a better way of addressing issues of violence and also allows us to work more effectively as a public service. It also means that we can achieve smarter outcomes. This basically means that the student contribution allows us as a public service to work more effectively, providing better outcomes for service users but also for the public services for themselves. The commitment of the students has really enabled the service to run and their regular attendance, their commitment, and their professionalism has really taken us aback.”

Sergeant Steve Pritchard said: “Each and every one of our volunteers deserves credit for the commitment they have shown to their roles. Their reliability, professionalism, and very mature attitudes have played major parts in some very important and successful initiatives, making them valued members of the policing family.

“Volunteering is an excellent way for students to get involved with their police organisation and give something back to the community in which they live. It also offers an excellent insight into our work, which can be useful for people who intend to pursue careers in community-based work or the criminal justice system.”

The Police Student Volunteer scheme was initially launched in Swansea in 2014. Since its inception, it has grown considerably with around 65 student volunteers currently deployed from universities across the Western Bay area. Its success has caught the attention of police forces as far away as America who have sent representatives to the region to discover about how the scheme works.

Charlie Davies, a volunteer, said: “Working as a volunteer has helped my confidence in dealing with situations and working with the public. It has also given me an insight into policing that I would not have otherwise had. There is also great job satisfaction as you finish a shift and know full well the contribution you have made.”

The Student Volunteers work alongside the officers from the Universities Police Liaison Team, which is a dedicated unit to support students while studying in the city. They provide an effective link between the police, universities and their students and other agencies – and the wider community. By working with the universities and the students the team has successfully helped to enhance the experience of being a student in Swansea by keeping them safe.

Top facts:

  • The 10 Students recognised have been there from the very beginning and been essential to the success of the Help Point – without them it would not have functioned.
  • UWTSD students as part of their 3 year Public Services Degree are encouraged to volunteer with many agencies such as Fire Service, Prison Service and of course Police – Police being far and away the most popular.
  • Help Point Joint partnership between PCC/Police/WAST/Health Board set up in September 2014 and has just treated its 3000thpatient
  • 80 per cent reduction in Emergency Department attendance on nights Help Point is operating and cross-partner cost savings of more than £650K

Further Information

Cate Hopkins
Press and Media Officer
E-mail: catherine.hopkins@uwtsd.ac.uk 
Phone: 07872 423 788