Lee Bland

How long have you been a Special Constable at Essex Police?

Attested on 19th June 2019, so almost a year.

Who is your ESP employer?

Network Rail

How do you feel about them supporting you as a Special?

I am really pleased that my employer sees the importance of the Special Constabulary and support their employees to perform this service to their communities. They are very flexible with my requests to have time to go on duty.

How has being a Special Constable benefitted you and your employer?

I have a much better approach to dealing with issues within my team. I have learned to better apply balance and judgment to difficult situations and make more informed decisions. Work can be a dynamic pressured environment sometimes; Police training and experience has been invaluable in dealing with some complex issues where balance and impartiality is needed.

Why did you decide to become a Special Constable?

After finishing 27 years as a volunteer Soldier, I decided I could perhaps use my skills to serve my local community, I completed a quick questionnaire through Facebook… the next thing I knew I was attesting at Police Headquarters. Absolutely I have loved the role so far!

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to live their other life and become a special?

It’s so flexible and the entire team is geared to making the most of your time. Other than the weekends of initial training, there’s scope to go on duty pretty much anytime. The only advice I would give is to ensure you have some space in your weekly or monthly routine already that you can apply to Policing. I would also say you need to be prepared to deal with things that can be very difficult for most people. But the satisfaction of a good outcome for the person needing Police assistance is a real reward.

"Network Rail is a registered supporter of the National Employer Supported Policing Register for Police Special Volunteering. Recognising our commitment to our local communities, we encourage employees to use their volunteer leave and reward those conducting Police duties with five days.

The rail industry and Police forces both see a benefit as the volunteering helps employees become both highly skilled in dynamic risk assessments and develop positive community engagement skills and behaviours."
Kate Snowden, Head of communications – Network Rail Anglia