Volunteer police officers contribute over 2,000 extra hours of high visibility patrols
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Over the Christmas and New Year period, 143 volunteer officers offered their valuable time to help keep our communities safe.
Between Friday 22 December 2023 and Tuesday 2 January, the officers completed 299 tours of duty.
The number of hours voluntarily worked by the volunteer police officers, also known as Specials, totalled 2,042 hours, meaning each volunteer police officer averaged more than 14 hours work during a time when most people were focussing on Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Citizens in Policing Commander, Sarah Wright, who leads recruitment, said:
I’m enormously proud of all our volunteer police officers who freely give up their time and dedicate their efforts to helping Essex Police keep people safe and arrest offenders. They volunteer their services all year round for free. But volunteering at such a busy time of year when families are planning time together and the rest of the public are socialising and celebrating shows the unselfish side of their personalities. It’s only right that they receive the recognition they deserve. They work alongside regular police officers, with the same powers, and doing the same things they do, they really do make a difference.
Over the 12-day period the Special Constables dealt with a variety of incidents.
Three Road Crime Team special officers left an accreditation ceremony at HQ where they were welcoming new officers, to go and secure the scene of a collision prior to Roads Policing Unit arrival. They found the vehicle in a lay-by and protected the scene whilst colleagues in the Operational Support Group coordinated an arrest.
Four Specials who were posted to Stansted Airport on one of the busiest days of the year, hit the ground running when they volunteered for duty on Saturday 23 December last year. They were immediately tasked with numerous incidents, and this continued throughout their tour and extended beyond their rostered duty. They were described as “invaluable” to the smooth running of the travelling public. It was noted by colleagues that each and every one was “enthusiastic and professional” throughout.
One SC placed himself on duty in the early hours of Christmas Day to prevent a drunk driver leaving the scene!
On New Year’s Eve, two specials were assisting with traffic flow and the road closure at the scene of a serious collision when they were approached by an anxious woman in what was described as a difficult situation, requiring sensitivity. Her daughter had left the car and wandered off, refusing to get back in the car due to her inability to cope with changes to the expected situation. However, following a search of the area, mother and daughter were reunited and they left in their car after saying thank you.
Furthermore, our Specials who were on duty on New Year’s Eve in Chelmsford covered 8 miles on foot during their evening tour of duty. Their high visibility patrols covered significant ground in and around Chelmsford, allowing for interaction with those socialising that evening. Their reassuring presence contributed to a fairly peaceful night. “Absolutely brilliant” was the view of a supervising officer.
Mrs Wright added:
The variety of work that our Specials do shows how they support victims of crime, safeguard people and identify and target criminals, just like our regular officers.
No two shifts are the same, and that’s what keeps it interesting.
We’d love more people to join us this year and use the skills they’ve gained in their other life to help them become a volunteer police officer – they really could make a difference.
My other life
Special Constables are volunteer Police Officers. They have the same police powers, uniforms and equipment as regular Police Officers but sacrifice their free time on a voluntary basis, organising their busy personal lives, day jobs and other commitments around police duties.