A DAY after police job cuts were announced, the force is looking for volunteers.

West Yorkshire Police have renewed their appeal for volunteers in the wake of the most severe cuts to the force in a generation.

There are currently 352 police volunteers as well as 356 Special Constables who carry out around 9,500 hours per month for West Yorkshire Police.

One of them is Karen Leslie, from Holmfirth, who works two days a week for West Yorkshire Police as a Strategic Volunteers Co-ordinator.

She has also knocked up more than 340 hours volunteering for the force.

Part of Karen’s remit is to promote the recruitment of other Police Support Volunteers and in the last year the numbers have almost doubled from 180 to 352.

Meanwhile the force is facing losing 2,250 police jobs – including 850 officers – in the next four years in response to a £90.5million cut in budget.

In recognition of Karen’s hours of dedication she was presented with a certificate of appreciation by Divisional Commander, Chief Supt Barry South, Chief Insp Jaene Booth and Insp Janet Ballance.

Karen said of her role: “I grew up with a high regard for the police. My father was a policeman in Halifax and I thought it was time to give something back to the community.

“I love working here. I feel very valued I am very much made to feel valued and part of a team here, and I’m able to put to good use my previous working skills.

“I am forever learning thanks to the help Janet gives me and I would definitely recommend anyone thinking about volunteering – I never realised how many opportunities there were for volunteers working within the police force.”

Insp Janet Ballance said: “It has been a pleasure getting to know Karen over the last year.

“She has become my right hand woman, and also a close friend. She’s always enthusiastic about her work, committed to our organisation and very reliable; she even came in two days before her recent wedding.”

Police volunteers can carry out a number of roles including assisting with minor investigative work, help desk support, admin support, assisting with projects, training and development and wildlife work.

A police spokesman said: “West Yorkshire Police has for a long time used the services of volunteers, including Special Constables and we will continue, wherever possible, to draw on this valuable resource.”

For more information about volunteering and to see if you can help out call Headquarters Recruitment on 01924 292084, call in at your local police station or email recruitment@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk