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New representation and legal support for Special Constables and Police Volunteers

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A new association, which seeks to provide representation and legal support to Special Constables and volunteers in policing across the UK, has been launched by a team of Special Constables from across the UK.

The Volunteers in Law Enforcement Association (VLEA), currently in startup, aims to be an inclusive, representative and strategically aware organisation which provides support and legal assistance to all volunteers in law enforcement.

The number of volunteers in law enforcement has seen rapid growth in the last few years with innovative use of volunteers, such as the introduction of National Crime Agency Special Constables, the national Cyber Specials Cyber Volunteers (CSCV) programme and Durham Constabulary’s Police Community Support Volunteers programme, adding to the more traditional roles of Special Constables and community based groups such as Neighbourhood Watch.

Despite the increase in volunteer utilisation and engagement within Policing, there is no representative body that recognises or supports the diverse and specific needs of those who give their time freely to support law enforcement.

The increasing risk exposure and developing roles of volunteers also means increasingly volunteers may find themselves in a position where formal support is required. VLEA will seek to build collaborative relationships with existing staff associations and unions to provide the support that is currently lacking.

Chief Officer Dale Checksfield, head of Durham Special Constabulary, and one of the founding members of VLEA, said: “Volunteers already play a significant part in policing across the UK and recent innovation shows that part to be increasing, both in volume and complexity.

“The time is right for reform in representation and an inclusive organisation which fills the gap which current offerings do not provide in supporting those who give their time freely in our communities is much needed.”

“By working with existing staff associations and federations, VLEA seeks to become the “one-stop

shop” that supports volunteers, provides support and guidance to forces and law enforcement

agencies and supports key stakeholders in developing and implementing policy.”

Whilst only recently being established, VLEA has already attracted support and membership from forces across the UK and has access to a broad range of skills and experience within its existing leadership team and extended network.

With inclusivity a central tenant of the association’s core values it has already begun to forge links within minority groups within policing to ensure its development captures the needs of underrepresented volunteers in policing.

Whilst it will take some months to complete the development work needed to fully open membership, the association recently briefed Home Office officials on its plans and will continue to build presence by seeking early meetings with the Police Federation, Superintendents Association, Unison, the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council.

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Dangerous prisoner fails to return after attending family funeral

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Police are appealing for help in tracing a Hollesley Bay prisoner who has absconded.

34-year-old Aaron Johnson was reported missing to police at 11.15pm  last night, Friday 17 August,.

Johnson had been granted a special purpose temporary licence to attend a funeral yesterday but failed to return to the prison as arranged. He was last seen in West London.

Johnson is serving a 9 year sentence for robbery, wounding and assault.

He is described as black, 6 feet tall, of medium build, and had a beard. He was wearing a black jacket,  blue jeans, white t-shirt and trainers.

Members of the public are advised not to approach him.

Anyone who believes they may have seen Aaron Johnson or who has any information regarding his whereabouts, is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting CAD 480 of 17 August.

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Scott Findlay subjected young mother to harrowing sex attack & punched her while she cradled 6-week-old baby

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A MAN who raped a young mother and repeatedly punched her as she cradled a six-week-old baby in her arms has been jailed.

Scott Findlay subjected his victim to a “prolonged and harrowing” attack in front of her two young children.

Today, at York Crown Court, Judge Simon Hickey sent the 27-year-old, from Ferryhill, in County Durham, to prison for 15 years for offences including rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and threats to kill.

The court heard that the victim pleaded with Findlay, who was armed with a kitchen knife, for her children to be prevented from seeing the attack.

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable Katrina Meisuria, of Durham Constabulary’s Safeguarding Unit, praised the victim for her courage in giving evidence.

She said: “Scott Findlay subjected his victim to a prolonged, harrowing and violent attack in front of her two young children.

“It took great bravery by the victim to provide evidence at court reliving those events again.

“There is no doubt these crimes have had a life-changing effect on the victim and her children, but the conviction will provide the family with the opportunity to move forward”.

In a statement released through the police, the victim said: “This has been an extremely difficult time for me and my family.

“The incidents occurred only six weeks after the birth of my daughter who was in my arms as Scott Finlay repeatedly punched me about the head and my seven-year-old looked on in terror begging for him to stop hurting his mammy.

“No child should ever have to witness such an attack”.

She added: “My family and I are pleased with the outcome and relieved it is finally over and we can move forward to rebuilding our life”.

After a four-day trial at Durham Crown Court in May, a jury found Findlay guilty of three counts of rape, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of making threats to kill.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and criminal damage.

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Man attacked staff with a traffic cone at petrol station

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Police are appealing for information after a man was assaulted with a traffic cone at a petrol station in Newcastle.

At around 12.05pm on Monday afternoon police received a report that a staff member at the Shell garage on the Great North Road in Gosforth had been assaulted with a traffic cone.

The male offender had filled up a motorcycle with fuel but was challenged by staff when it appeared that he would not pay for the fuel.

He became aggressive and then assaulted the staff member with a traffic cone before fleeing the scene on foot in the direction of The Three Mile Inn.

The victim of the assault was later taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose and cheekbone. It is also believed the motorcycle the offender left at the garage was stolen.

Enquiries into the incident are ongoing and police are now appealing for help from the public to identify the offender.

He is described as wearing all black with a white motorcycle helmet that had the visor down.

Officers also want to speak to any witnesses to the incident as there were a number of people on the garage forecourt who police have still not spoken to.

They are also keen to speak to any motorists who may have dash-cam footage showing the motorcycle in question.

Anyone who knows the man, or witnessed the incident on Monday, is encouraged to contact police on 101 quoting log 423 13/08/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

You can also email the OIC on [email protected] or report online at www.northumbria.police.uk/contact.

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