In Sussex, over 400 people currently spend a minimum of four hours a week as volunteer police officers serving the local community.
Special constables have the same powers and much of the same training as full-time officers. Playing a vital role in neighbourhood policing teams, these officers can also train to undertake specialist roles, responding to 999 calls and working in the Road Policing Unit.
Special Constable Jason Dixon became a fully warranted officer last month and has recently joined the Professional Development Unit in Eastbourne, where he will undertake the rest of his training.
The reason why I joined as a special constable is I’ve always been really interested in the police service and I think the role is an excellent opportunity for me to learn more about what the police do in the local community. I’m really looking forward to being part of a diverse and dedicated policing team and putting into practice the knowledge and skills I’ve gained throughout my special constable training. The role is very different to my day job as a fencing contractor.
The launch of the recruitment campaign coincides with National Volunteers’ Week 2014, an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution of millions of volunteers across the UK.
Sussex Police say Special constables are part of a wider volunteering family within Sussex Police which include volunteers who help run public contact points, cadets who provide support at public events and partner organisations such as Neighbourhood Watch, Speed Watch, search teams and street pastors. The contributions of all these volunteers are being highlighted throughout this week in a series of videos posted on social media.
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Smith said:
Our volunteers are a vital part of our policing family. Special constables have worked in Sussex for over 100 years and this role gives people a chance to get right into the heart of Sussex Police and, ultimately, the communities we serve.
We are recruiting across Sussex but particularly appealing for volunteers who live near Rother, Wealden, Midhurst, Petworth, Selsey, Lewes and Horsham.
Last year, special constables volunteered over 80,000 hours with us; their professionalism, commitment and enthusiasm are admirable.
Sussex Police encourage applicants from a wide range of backgrounds who want to make a difference in the communities they serve. It is important that our workforce reflects the diversity of our local communities so that Sussex Police can continue to improve its policing response.
Special constables devote a minimum of 16 hours a month, supporting local police teams, gaining new experiences and skills and learning about many aspects of police work. In depth training is provided covering the police service, the duties of a police officer, powers of arrest and common crimes, how to prepare evidence for court and personal safety.
To find out more about what it’s like to volunteer as a special constable and how to make an application visit www.sussexspecials.com.