Police 'foot soldiers' thanked

Highly regarded: Wollongong police made their Volunteers in Policing a cup of tea by way of a "thank-you" on Thursday morning for their consistent help in reducing crime across the region.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

Highly regarded: Wollongong police made their Volunteers in Policing a cup of tea by way of a "thank-you" on Thursday morning for their consistent help in reducing crime across the region.Picture: ADAM McLEAN

They're known as the police force's "foot soldiers" - an army of volunteers helping reduce crime throughout Wollongong.

Among them is Bill Anderson, who has been helping police for the past 11 years.

Mr Anderson said being a Volunteer in Policing gave him an opportunity to help the community, and kept him occupied in retirement.

"I love doing it," he said. "It's a different outlook on life - we see things the police are doing and we just like to get in and help them do it.

"We're a liaison between the public and the police."

On Thursday morning, Wollongong police held a special morning tea to coincide with National Volunteer Week and to thank the VIPs.

Duties VIPs undertake include checking if cars are secure in known stealing hot spots, talking to shopkeepers if there has been an increase in thefts, and occasionally providing barbecues for police officers.

Crime prevention officer Senior Constable Mark Devine said the work the volunteers did was invaluable. "Last weekend in Woonona the volunteers went and checked 300-odd motor vehicles," he said.

"They check if the vehicle is locked, whether there's anything visible ... and they report that information back to me and I can follow it up.

"Volunteers play a vital role - they do a lot of work that police just haven't got the time or resources to do themselves."

Mr Anderson said he planned to remain a VIP.

"We've got a good group of people here," he said.

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