Countywide: A very Special weekend
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National Specials Weekend is an opportunity for all our special constables to showcase the massive contribution they make to policing our county.
Specials are volunteer police officers. Equipped with full policing powers and the same uniform as regular officers, they sacrifice their free time to help protect our communities.
This week is National Volunteers Week and, as usual, our Specials have been busy across the county. Not so usual is the fact that, on 2 June, they were recognised with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, with a ‘special designation’ for providing impactful support during the early months of the pandemic.
During the last year’s lockdown, between March and June, the Special Constabulary volunteered more than 54,000 operational hours, providing visible policing and helping their communities during unprecedented times.
Citizens in Policing Commander Jenny Brouard says: “By volunteering their own valuable spare time to support operational policing, our Special Constables make a vital contribution to our community, local and specialist policing teams.
“A huge thanks to each and every one for the difference they make in our communities and for helping Essex Police to help people, keep them safe and catch criminals.
“I also want to acknowledge those firms who allow their staff paid time off to volunteer as a Special through our Employer Supported Policing (ESP) scheme and councils which fund their own community special constables.
“Essex Police is grateful for the time you give and the support you provide, all year round.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, adds: “Our Special Constabulary do an amazing job. It really is humbling to hear the number of hours people give for free for the benefit of keeping our communities safer and the great work that they do, putting themselves on the front line to help people.
“To be honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, is a great validation of their dedication. On behalf of the people of Essex, thank you to each and every one of you who volunteers.”
As well as a normal round of duties this Special weekend, several of our volunteer officers are going to Cornwall to help with the policing operation surrounding the G7 Summit this month.
Did you know?
During an average month, our Specials contribute 17,300 hours to protect people and keep them safe from harm. And, in the past year, they have volunteered a total of 207,552 hours of their own time to help people, keep you safe and catch criminals. That’s 568 hours every single day. So you can see, their support of our policing response to the pandemic has been fantastic.
Our Special Constabulary is the second largest in the UK with 513 officers, many of whom are an integral part of all our local and community policing teams, with others volunteering their time in specialist areas.
We also have community special constables in eight parish and town council areas and other Specials are supported by their firms as part of our Employer Supported Policing scheme (ESP).
Special Constable Nikki Essex is supported by her employer, Chelmsford City Council, to volunteer her time. She says volunteering has benefited both her roles.
“As part of the Safer Chelmsford Partnership, my employer works very closely with Essex Police teams, including the community policing team, in dealing with anti-social behaviour and community safety issues,” she says.
“By dealing with members of the public in both my day job and my Special role, I gain valuable insight into trends and intelligence, such as engaging with rough sleepers and focusing on anti-social behaviour hotspots, and develop close working and trusting relationships with both Chelmsford City Council and Essex Police.”
Special Constable Perry Woolner is a Commercial Customer Manager for Wave Utilities by day. He too is supported by his company to help keep our communities in Essex safe.
On Wednesday, he took his HR director Jane Austin out on a Ridealong so she could see the work he does with us in his volunteer role.
He says: “It was a great opportunity to show one of our directors some of the skills I have gained and which I also use to benefit Essex Police as a direct result of the Employer Supported Policing scheme. Wave Utilities have allowed me time to undertake some intensive training courses which, otherwise, I would not have been able to take part in.”
Some of our Specials serve as Special Detectives in the Serious Crime Directorate’s Major Investigation Team and the Serious Economic Crime Unit, while others volunteer their time in Operational Policing Command in a variety of roles, including Roads Policing, at Stansted Airport or with our Marine Unit and Dog Section. Specials are also part of our Rural Engagement Team.
So, you can see, our special constables donate an enormous amount of their spare time to a huge variety of roles right across our force.
Jenny says: “The past year has been a challenge for everyone but our Specials have continued to be incredible, day in, day out! Of course, we are always looking for new recruits so if being a Special sounds as though it’s up your street, please apply. It’s a unique role and you’ll never look back.”
If you are interested in becoming a Special Constable like Nikki and Perry, visit www.essex.police.uk/specials
If you want to become a Special Constable within your own community, you will find more information via www.essex.police.uk/specials and click on Be a Community Special Constable.
If you have Special Constables in your work force and would like more details on how the Employer Supported Policing scheme could work for your business, visit www.essex.police.uk/specials and click on Employer Supported Policing.