Making a difference through volunteering

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Ria Archer
Combined Modern Languages 2017
Student Watch


Ever since I was young I've been fascinated by the work that the emergency services do, especially the police, and my time at university has given me the opportunity to explore this in more depth.
 
At the end of my first year, I joined Student Watch, a joint initiative between Hampshire Constabulary and the University of Portsmouth, to give crime prevention advice to university students and to keep them safe, as well as keeping the wider community of Portsmouth safe and happy. However, it's been so much more than just talking to students about keeping their bikes locked up securely and being good neighbours.
 
Through Student Watch, I've had the opportunity to get involved with lots of different projects run and organised by Hampshire Constabulary. I've been out on patrol with the police on observer shifts, tried my hand role playing at events with the Police Cadets, and was even part of a team used by Hampshire Constabulary to aid them in getting people from ethnic minorities to join the police. As well as this, I've also had the opportunity to work with police officers on a variety of different projects which has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of how the Police works.
 
Being part of Student Watch has helped me become more confident and develop my communication skills with people at all levels, as well as giving me the opportunity to lead from the front and have a positive impact on the way the scheme is run. In my final year I was one of two students selected to coordinate the scheme and run inductions for other students joining. Because of this, I have also gained more useful experience in giving presentations, and one of the highlights of my final year was giving a speech at the Volunteering Awards in April, in front of a large crowd of people which included other students and their parents, as well as University officials and the local press.
 
Student Watch has given me so many different experiences to be grateful for, many of which I'm sure will be useful in the future, and not least in the immediate future as I join the Police as a Special Constable.