Police officers praise VA’s work


January 24, 2019

Two young police officers who spent time with Veterans Aid have praised the charity for its commitment and effectiveness.

Both are on the Police Now national programme, a scheme to train outstanding graduates to become police officers. Its mission is to transform communities, reduce crime and increase the public’s confidence in policing, by recruiting and developing outstanding and diverse individuals to be leaders in society and on the policing frontline.

CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said, “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.”

Two Police Now officers – Karina Puttock and Hannah Stark – elected to spend time with Veterans Aid, 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 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 – all inspired by the work done at VA.

“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.

PREVENTION

“I work in a neighbourhood team which is based on principles of prevention yet seem to spend a lot of my time reacting to incidents instead of preventing them. Although Veterans Aid 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 put the Police Now aim into context. “This is a two year programme which allows university graduates a route into policing, specifically into some of the most deprived neighbourhoods across the United Kingdom. As part of the programme participants are encouraged to spend time with a partner organisation, company or charity.

“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.”

Hannah also commented on how VA’s newly refurbished New Belvedere House fitted into the charity’s support programme. “It is a residential home, built specifically to house homeless veterans and run by the charity. It offers homeless veterans a beautiful place to stay, a chance to meet new people and a massive chance to better their situation. The work they do is just fantastic and it does genuinely have such a positive impact on people’s lives. I could not praise Veterans Aid more if I tried.”

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 Police Now programme we are able to educate potential officers about what we do and how they can impact on the wellbeing of vulnerable veterans in their community before they become homeless or driven to crime. It really is a win-win situation!”

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