Police chiefs pay tribute to Special Constables during weekend of events

Chief Constable Colette Paul with PCC Olly Martins.
Chief Constable Colette Paul with PCC Olly Martins.

Police Commissioner Olly Martins will be joining the county’s Special Constables in a number of activities during National Specials Weekend and paying tribute to the work they do.

Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins and Chief Constable Colette Paul are strong supporters of the Specials and are keen to highlight the contribution they make to community safety, during the event which runs until Sunday, April 6.

Last year marked the Centenary for Bedfordshire’s Special Constables.

Commissioner Martins said: “Our Specials are a much valued part of our local communities and of Bedfordshire Police. Their work and their personal knowledge of life in our towns and villages brings huge benefits to us all. In helping to deliver safe and crime-free neighbourhoods they make a vital contribution to the efficiency of the Force.”

There are 203 Specials in the county, but both the Chief Constable and the Commissioner are hoping to see the numbers increase to 330 by this time next year. A recruitment campaign is already underway.

Ms Paul said: “Our Specials give their time freely and willingly for the good of our communities, using their training and powers of arrest to excellent effect when dealing with criminals – including burglars, drink drivers and drug traffickers.

“I am enormously grateful to them and applaud them for their public spiritedness which is so reassuring for residents and businesses who want as much visible policing as possible.”

Activities lined up for the weekend include events which the Specials routinely help to patrol and police such as rave prevention patrols in central Bedfordshire on Friday and Saturday evening; Luton Football on Saturday; and Operation HOGG on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

There will also be a ‘scenario weekend’ for the new intake on Saturday.

Last year the Commissioner allocated £115k from his Community Safety Fund to finance costs such as equipment, uniform and training for 46 more Special Constables.

He said: “The impressive and tangible results that they have achieved show that this money was well spent – and I hope to be able to provide further financial support this year.”

Although Special Constables are unpaid, many of them speak of the satisfaction they gain from volunteering.

Mr Martins added: “The training and work they do also provides them with valuable opportunities for personal and professional development which can be a spring-board to a new career.”

Nigel Green, Special Constabulary Chief Officer, said: “The National Specials Weekend is a great opportunity to showcase the real policing work that Specials undertake, not just at these events but every day in their communities. Specials are volunteers and also highly professional in their delivery of policing which is part of the reason for the significant support being given by the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable to develop and grow our strength.”

Volunteering around four hours of their time a week, they serve alongside regular police officers and share the same powers. Training is on-going, but initially covers law, self-defence, first aid and conflict/threat management. This training can take place over eight weeks on two evenings a week and three weekends or a two-week intensive course Monday to Friday 8-5pm and one weekend. Information about how to apply to become a Special is available on Bedfordshire Police’s website.

People interested in joining the Specials can find out more at http://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/about_us/careers/special_constables.aspx