Number: D2500 Date Published: 18 August 2020 Version 2 – August 2020
1.0 Summary of Changes
This policy has been updated on its review as follows:
Clarity given within section 3 regarding average hours expected from a Special Constable and the process if they become non operational for a period of time;
New paragraphs added within section 7 regarding data security and retention and disposal of records;
Owner and author details updated.
2.0 What this Policy is About
This policy covers the recruitment, training, deployment and management of the Special Constabulary in Essex.
Compliance with this policy and any linked procedures is mandatory.
3.0 Statement of Policy
The Special Constabulary are a force of trained volunteers who are fully warranted officers providing a valuable link between the police and the local community. With the same powers as regular officers they work in their free time on a variety of police duties bringing a wide diversity of experience to policing.
The role of the Special Constable is to provide operational policing support and assistance to regular officers in areas of policing that the force directs. Where Special Constables are integrated into regular policing teams they will normally be afforded the opportunity for equivalent training and support as their regular counterparts.
Special Constables hold the same powers as regular officers and as such the process for recruitment, selection and ‘employment’ will have equivalent rigor, informed by national and force standards.
The posting of Special Constables will be at the discretion of Essex Police, with due consideration of individuals’ personal preferences, balanced against operational need and any other relevant organisational factors.
Following completion of their initial training, Special Constables are expected to maintain their operational competence by volunteering an average of 16 operational hours per month and through additional engagement in training and associated development processes which is approximately 2 hours per month.
If a Special Constable becomes non-operational for any period of time, there is an expectation that their competency is maintained by volunteering an average of 16 hours per month by completing any training and associated development processes and any other duties that can be reasonably and safely performed with appropriate reasonable adjustments. This will require an assessment by the Supervisor and/or HQ Development Team and can include project work and recruitment support.
Special Constables holding sergeant rank and above are expected to maintain operational competence through regular operational duties. Operational duties are defined as duties worked in direct support of community, response, specialist and investigative policing teams.
Special Constable (at all ranks) is an operational role. A Special Constable is expected to maintain a sufficient standard of fitness to pass the annual job-related fitness test (JRFT) and defensive skills training. Where a Special Constable is unable to deploy operationally then the officer’s circumstances will be considered on their individual merits. Where an officer has a disability that limits their ability to deploy operationally the force will consider any reasonable adjustments that can be made to support that officer to pass the JRFT, complete defensive skills training and to perform an operational role. Where a Special cannot with reasonable adjustments perform operational duties, they may be managed via the performance procedures under police regulations. Special Constables are not members of a Police Force or employees, but they are subject to the Code of Ethics and the Police (Performance) Regulations, the Police (Conduct) Regulations and Working Time Regulations. Where the recruitment, training, management and conduct of Special Constables is not governed or confined by regulation, legislation or national guidance the principles of relevant procedures as applied to regular officers shall guide decision making.
Essex Police supports Employer Supported Policing and will provide staff with a fixed amount of paid leave in order to perform Special Constabulary duties. In times of critical threat or demand, additional paid leave to perform Specials duties may be authorised by a Strategic (Gold) Commander.
4.0 Implications of the Policy
4.1 Finance / Staffing / Training / Other
Although Special Constables are volunteers, there are costs associated with the recruitment, management, administration, training, equipment and allowances that they receive.
All Allowances that Special Constables are eligible for are detailed in the linked procedures G 1601 (mileage) and G 1608 (other allowances).
There are also additional training requirements that create demands on Force training such as Driver Training, Officer Safety Training and additional costs for training and equipping Special Constables in specialist roles.
Provision of paid leave for volunteering may create an opportunity cost for the staff member’s department.
4.2 Risk Assessment(s)
Risk Assessments are in place for the general policing activities and specialist roles that Special Constables will carry out. These are accessed via the Health and Safety extranet site. Nothing in this policy should create risks that have not been previously considered.
4.3 Equality Impact Assessment
EIA form – November 2017
The following have been consulted during the formulation of this document:
Special Constabulary Development Board
Special Constabulary - Senior Leadership Group
Equality and Diversity Co-ordinator
Health & Safety
Strategic Change Team
Communities and Engagement Coordinator
Chairperson of Disability Network
Learning & Development
6.0 Monitoring and Review
This policy will be reviewed every two years by the Special Constabulary Development Manager (or equivalent role) on behalf of the owner.
7.0 Related Force policies or related procedures
G 1601 Procedure – Mileage
G 1608 Procedure – Other Expenses
C 2004 Procedure – Specials Training
X 2001 Procedure – Provision of Uniform and Equipment
C 0602 Procedure – Standards of Appearance
D 2000 Policy - Safe Driving
D 2001 Procedure – Safe Driving and General Driving Requirements
D 2002 Procedure – Driving Authority
D 0100 Policy – Effective Crewing
D 0101 Procedure – Effective Crewing
C 2010 Procedure – Personal Safety Training
H 0403 Procedure – Patrolling and Incidents on Fast Roads
C 3000 Policy – Professional Standards
C 2007 Procedure – Job Related Fitness Test
J 0100 Policy – Health and Safety
J 0102 Procedure – Health and Safety Incident Reporting
L 1420 Procedure – Grievance
W 1000 Policy – Information Management and Assurance
C 0801 Procedure – Police Officer Postings
7.1 Data Security
Essex Police have measures in place to protect the security of your data in accordance with our Information Management Policy – W 1000 Policy – Information Management.
7.2 Retention & Disposal of Records
Essex Police will hold data in accordance with our Records Review, Retention & Disposal Policy – W 1012 Procedure/SOP - Records Review, Retention and Disposal.
We will only hold data for as long as necessary for the purposes for which we collected. Victims/public should be reminded that Essex Police take the protection of personal data seriously as described in the privacy notice.
8.0 Other Source Documents
The Special Constables Regulations 1965
The Special Constables (Amendment) Regulations 2012