During the second year of training with Police Now, participants can apply for an external secondment with one of our partner organisations, or an internal attachment with a specialist unit in their force. Secondments are offered across a range of private sector organisations and charities. This access supports participants’ professional development and presents valuable opportunities, for skills exchange and building closer working relationships within the community. It also allows participants to bring skills and lessons back into policing from other industries.
Two Police Now neighbourhood officers recently completed a placement with Veterans Aid, a charity that supports ex-servicemen and women in crisis, particularly where it threatens to lead to homelessness.
Dr Hugh Milroy, CEO of Veterans Aid, welcomed the partnership between Police Now and VA, saying:
“We also operate on the ‘frontline’, combating homelessness, social isolation and the many societal ills that can lead to crime. There is real synchronicity of objectives between this charity and Police Now and we fully support its aims.”
PC Karina Puttock, a neighbourhood officer in Sussex and PC Hannah Stark, a neighbourhood officer in Humberside, spent time with the charity, working in its Operations Room and learning about the roles of individual staff members.
Karina said,“They were four of the most valuable weeks I have worked. I have a lot of friends and family in the military, so it is a charity close to my heart. Although we don’t have a military base in Sussex, traditionally veterans are transient and tend to go back to the place they know.
“As a result of my time with Veterans Aid, I am now working on a project based on how police deal with veterans in crisis and how we can standardise this to ensure a consistently high level of support to ex-servicemen and women. I’ve learnt a lot and built good relationships within the charity.
“In my line of work, I am regularly frustrated with how procedure and policy gets in the way of providing immediate help and relief to the most vulnerable people. There is always a threshold which is not quite met, or a long waiting list for already overwhelmed services. At Veterans Aid, once someone asks for help, the help is there almost immediately and from a policing perspective it was so nice to see people getting the help almost straight away.
“Although the charity is quick to act for those in need, there is also an incredibly strong focus on prevention, which I believe is essential, and it really sets them apart.”
Karina was followed by Hannah who said about her placement:
“I was lucky enough to get an attachment with Veterans Aid, a charity which supports homeless veterans. I was constantly amazed by the work they did. The willingness to help, the dedication and passion of the employees who work there is something quite special to watch. During my time at VA I saw people come in at their lowest – and leave with so much support from the team. I was surprised by just how much I learned.”
Dr Milroy added, “We have a well-established relationship with the Metropolitan Police but local forces are equally valuable in terms of linking us up with vulnerable veterans in their communities. A timely phone call or email can avoid significant hardship, needless travel and great personal distress.
Through the exchange of skills with Police Now, we are able to share with officers what we do at Veterans Aid and how they can impact on the well-being of vulnerable veterans in their community, before they become homeless or driven to crime. It really is a win-win situation!”
For more information about the Police Now programme and secondments, please see our latest Impact Report.