Special police officers go on to become paid crime fighters

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Volunteer police officers enjoyed their frontline work so much that 53 have taken up the chance to become full-time officers.

Following extra training, many of the former special constables are now working with local policing teams in Beds, while others joined neighbouring Cambridgeshire or Hertfordshire forces.

A recruitment campaign to attract more specials is backed by Beds chief constable Colette Paul and police and crime commissioner Olly Martins, who aim to have a 500-strong special constabulary in the county by spring 2017.

Between January and the end of November this year, specials - who came from all walks of life - volunteered an incredible 61,200 hours and helped with everything from crowd control at major events to raids.

Some are now working out of the force’s smaller police stations, such as Biggleswade, which provides a valuable and easily accessible uniformed presence in more rural areas. Riseley police station will welcome special constables in February.

Volunteer officers must be aged over 18 and be prepared to commit 16 hours a week to the service, but in Beds the average contribution is 26 hours. They work shoulder-to-shoulder with regular officers, PCSOs and staff.

Chief Insp Greg Horsford said: “It is fantastic news that specials were so inspired by their work that they applied to join the regular force. The fact so many met the high recruitment criteria needed illustrates the value of the training and experience they received as specials.

“All this supports our vision to be a well-respected, high-performing, efficiently run police service working together to protect people, fight crime and keep Bedfordshire safe.”

The force, which currently has 222 specials, runs regular recruitment evenings and is keen to attract local people from the diverse communities it serves. Details are published under a dedicated Specials’ section on the force website at www.bedfordshire.police.uk.