Chelmsford: Nikki is special by day and a Special by night
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All our special constables volunteer their time to help people, keep you safe and catch criminals.
Some of them do it with the support of their employers, who allow them paid time off to carry out their role as a special constable with Essex Police.
Special Constable Nikki Essex, a community safety officer for Chelmsford City Council by day, is one of our newest volunteers, having completed her training in November 2020.
Tonight, [Friday 4 June] as part of National Volunteers’ Week and National Specials Weekend, she will be taking one of her council bosses on shift with her so they can see the work she does with us.
Nikki says she wanted to become a Special to give victims of crime a positive experience and ensure they have a positive perception of the police.
“Knowing that I can make a difference to someone’s life and keep victims safe at night is a very rewarding feeling,” she says.
And she says volunteering has benefited her a lot, both in her role with Chelmsford City Council and in her other life with Essex Police.
“As part of the Safer Chelmsford Partnership, the council works very closely with Essex Police teams, including the community policing team, in dealing with anti-social behaviour and community safety issues.
“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.
“I feel very supported by the City Council. Booking time off is very easy and my bosses fully understand the demands of my role as a Special and support me.”
Karen Buttress, community safety lead officer for Chelmsford City Council, says: “Having Nikki in post as a community safety officer has had massive benefits for the council. She’s learnt many skills through her police training which she is able to incorporate into her role within the council.
“I believe that the policing role has given Nikki the confidence in settling into her role at the council very well. The relationship between the Community Safety Partnership and Essex Police has always been key and this opportunity enhances that.
“The training that Nikki has received from both Essex Police and Chelmsford City Council has been interchangeable and enhanced both roles. It is important for the city council to see our employees develop and enhance their skills in areas they enjoy, and flourish.”
So, what advice would Nikki give to anyone thinking of becoming a Special Constable?
“Do it!” she says.
“The support from regular officers is amazing. You’ll make some great friends along the way and you’ll get to experience things members of the public generally don’t.
“You’ll also gain new skills, whether it’s assertiveness, dealing with difficult situations or calming down and providing support to vulnerable members of the public.
“I feel proud to be a Special Constable and my only regret is not doing it sooner.”
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.