Crime-fighter Carol Cotterill works with Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police as a Police Support Volunteer (PSV). Carol is a Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire where she has worked on lots of initiatives to tackle rural crime, including her rural website Warwickshire Rural Watch. As a volunteer she chairs Warwickshire Horse Watch - which she helped set up; and various other work supporting local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and North Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch.

"My name is Carol Cotterill and I live in a small village in North Warwickshire with my husband and two sons.

"Growing up in a small village and spending most of my time on my grandfather's farm I have always been closely involved in rural life.

"I originally became involved in crime prevention through becoming a member of North Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch and supporting them at local events and community engagement days. This expanded to me producing their magazine for 3 years and promoting crime prevention with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team. For this I received a County Neighbourhood Watch Award.

"As the owner of two horses I approached Warwickshire Police and asked if they had a Horse Watch scheme I could join. They replied they did not have one, but were regularly contacted by people like myself and would like to support one - would I like to help set one up! That was approximately 5 years ago and I am now proud to be Chair of Warwickshire Horse Watch which has a membership of over 3,500 people including our followers on social media. We proactively postcode tack for people at shows and stable yards, have a dedicated website with specific crime prevention sheets, gate signs and lots more.

"In January 2012 I was approached by Warwickshire Police and became a Police Support Volunteer with special responsibilities for Watch Schemes which included Neighbourhood Watch, Horse Watch and Rural Watch.

"In June 2013 - Warwickshire Horse Watch was awarded the NFU (National Farmers Union) Country Crime Fighting Award for Best Community Scheme in the UK. I also received a commendation for my work from Superintendent Martin Samuel, Area Commander for North Warwickshire.

"As I worked with local farmers and horse owners I saw there was a need to show them the different equipment available to help them protect their property and engage with their local officers. In October, 2013 we held our first rural crime prevention night in North Warwickshire followed by a large event at Moreton Morrell Agricultural College for people in South Warwickshire which was attended by the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner.

"In February 2014 I produced a DVD for SNT officers to use on their beat to promote crime prevention and reach more people. Four short films were produced to cover the main concerns affecting the area I covered in North Warwickshire - theft and burglary from home and garden, bogus callers, farm crime and equine crime. These were well received by the force and have gone on to be used as training aids to officers on rural beats, assisting victims of crime and are featured on the new Warwickshire Rural Watch website which I helped set up.

"In January 2015 I was nominated as a Community Champion for my area and met Prime Minister, David Cameron at a reception in Downing Street.

"I am also extremely honoured to have been put forward in the Volunteer category by Warwickshire Police for the British Association of Women in Policing and on Tuesday I will collect a Highly Commended Award. This is particularly special as 2015 marks the anniversary of 100 years of women in policing.

"I am very proud and honoured to be a PSV in Warwickshire Police. I have huge respect for the work our officers do and try to help in any way I can. I feel passionate about rural and equine crime and believe by being proactive and engaging with these communities we can make a difference. I work hard to raise the profile of rural issues within the force and am proud that I receive support on this from the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner down.

"I thoroughly enjoy what I do and recommend to anyone considering becoming a volunteer to get involved, you really can make a difference."

Singing Carol's praises, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Amanda Blakeman, said: "Carol is a truly inspirational volunteer. She has made a huge and positive impact on the rural and equine communities across Warwickshire. Her work, commitment and professionalism are very much appreciated."

Crime-fighter Carol Cotterill works with Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police as a Police Support Volunteer (PSV). Carol is a Rural Crime Coordinator for North Warwickshire where she has worked on lots of initiatives to tackle rural crime, including her rural website Warwickshire Rural Watch. As a volunteer she chairs Warwickshire Horse Watch - which she helped set up; and various other work supporting local Safer Neighbourhood Teams and North Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch.

"My name is Carol Cotterill and I live in a small village in North Warwickshire with my husband and two sons.

"Growing up in a small village and spending most of my time on my grandfather's farm I have always been closely involved in rural life.

"I originally became involved in crime prevention through becoming a member of North Warwickshire Neighbourhood Watch and supporting them at local events and community engagement days. This expanded to me producing their magazine for 3 years and promoting crime prevention with the local Safer Neighbourhood Team. For this I received a County Neighbourhood Watch Award.

"As the owner of two horses I approached Warwickshire Police and asked if they had a Horse Watch scheme I could join. They replied they did not have one, but were regularly contacted by people like myself and would like to support one - would I like to help set one up! That was approximately 5 years ago and I am now proud to be Chair of Warwickshire Horse Watch which has a membership of over 3,500 people including our followers on social media. We proactively postcode tack for people at shows and stable yards, have a dedicated website with specific crime prevention sheets, gate signs and lots more.

"In January 2012 I was approached by Warwickshire Police and became a Police Support Volunteer with special responsibilities for Watch Schemes which included Neighbourhood Watch, Horse Watch and Rural Watch.

"In June 2013 - Warwickshire Horse Watch was awarded the NFU (National Farmers Union) Country Crime Fighting Award for Best Community Scheme in the UK. I also received a commendation for my work from Superintendent Martin Samuel, Area Commander for North Warwickshire.

"As I worked with local farmers and horse owners I saw there was a need to show them the different equipment available to help them protect their property and engage with their local officers. In October, 2013 we held our first rural crime prevention night in North Warwickshire followed by a large event at Moreton Morrell Agricultural College for people in South Warwickshire which was attended by the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner.

"In February 2014 I produced a DVD for SNT officers to use on their beat to promote crime prevention and reach more people. Four short films were produced to cover the main concerns affecting the area I covered in North Warwickshire - theft and burglary from home and garden, bogus callers, farm crime and equine crime. These were well received by the force and have gone on to be used as training aids to officers on rural beats, assisting victims of crime and are featured on the new Warwickshire Rural Watch website which I helped set up.

"In January 2015 I was nominated as a Community Champion for my area and met Prime Minister, David Cameron at a reception in Downing Street.

"I am also extremely honoured to have been put forward in the Volunteer category by Warwickshire Police for the British Association of Women in Policing and on Tuesday I will collect a Highly Commended Award. This is particularly special as 2015 marks the anniversary of 100 years of women in policing.

"I am very proud and honoured to be a PSV in Warwickshire Police. I have huge respect for the work our officers do and try to help in any way I can. I feel passionate about rural and equine crime and believe by being proactive and engaging with these communities we can make a difference. I work hard to raise the profile of rural issues within the force and am proud that I receive support on this from the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner down.

"I thoroughly enjoy what I do and recommend to anyone considering becoming a volunteer to get involved, you really can make a difference."

Singing Carol's praises, Temporary Assistant Chief Constable for Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Amanda Blakeman, said: "Carol is a truly inspirational volunteer. She has made a huge and positive impact on the rural and equine communities across Warwickshire. Her work, commitment and professionalism are very much appreciated."

Becoming a volunteer was an exciting prospect for me; the opportunity was the chance to 'get my foot in the door' and show what skills and experience I could bring to the role. I have aspirations to have a long and successful career with the police and this was a great place to begin that journey.

From January 2016 I started as a volunteer with the Safer Roads Partnership as administration support for the Community Speed Watch programme. Throughout my time with the Safer Roads team I was learning more about what they do during the year to make our communities a safer place to live and work in.

One of the major benefits I felt on a personal level was my confidence and knowledge of policing growing over the months. In May this year I saw a job opening with the Safer Roads Partnership and I applied to see where the opportunity could take me. The day of the interview was as everyone would expect; nerve-racking! The one thing that brought me calmness and confidence however, was the knowledge that over the past few months I had gained a lot of knowledge and experience that I would not have if I was not a volunteer.

Thankfully, I was the successful applicant and I have since started my role as Community Speed Watch Co-ordinator. Many aspects of my role as a volunteer provided me with a positive platform in the interview process. It has also brought me great satisfaction that my time as a volunteer helped me to achieve my goals.

If you are considering becoming a volunteer I would recommend it. If you are able to spare a few hours of your time for something that is different to your day to day activities but also interesting and rewarding, then applying to become a volunteer is definitely something you should consider.