How long have you been a Special Constable at Essex Police?
Who is your ESP employer?
How do you feel about them supporting you as a Special?
Wave kindly give me 10 days a year, every year on top of my generous annual leave entitlement to undertake any Police related which, on many occasions has proved really useful as some training courses are not run over a weekend; they have to be completed with our regular officer colleagues and this additional time has allowed me to attend it.
Wave have also been very flexible in allowing me additional days off, if required, to further assist during the current worldwide Covid-19 pandemic by supporting quite often, short-notice leave to assist in the delivery of essential PPE equipment to our front-line NHS workers. I feel suitably supported and a lot of the senior management, directors included, are genuinely keen to understand what I get up to; obviously some bits I can’t mention, suffice to say, they are content with what I can tell them!
How has being a Special Constable benefitted you and your employer?
The training offered to Special Constables in Essex is identical to that given to the regular police officers and therefore the quality of delivery and subject matter is always guaranteed. Some of the training that I have received over the years is clearly transferrable and I would like to think that it also provide my employer with other softer, but equally important skills such acting with honesty and integrity at all times, listening and genuinely caring for others who, on occasions may need some support. Within my day job, I drive around the country and over many miles each month; I have been fortunate enough to partake in a 3-week Police Response Driving Course provided by Police instructors and this has upskilled my levels of observation, anticipation and overall road safety awareness which, clearly I bring back into my day job and social driving. It’s courses and opportunities like this, money cannot buy and with my ESP 10 day allowance, this has allowed me to complete it.
Why did you decide to become a Special Constable?
Volunteering is throughout our family with both my wife and my 2 sons volunteering every week at the local Cub/Scouts pack and I suppose helping others is rewarding by seeing others develop and quite genuinely not focussing on financial rewards being the driver in doing something. As a youngster myself, I attended Beavers, Cubs and Scouts and benefitted from those who volunteered their time for me. I’ve decided to go down the Police route as I enjoy the variety and over the many years that I have served Essex, the innovation that this county’s Police service has adopted has kept my interest fresh together with the trust and excellent training that allows me to undertake my role with them.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to live their other life and become a special?
Would I recommend it, absolutely; I think the years I have done to date and with not being ready to give up yet says it all; the secret is making sure you have a good balance of home life, day job and Police.
The more you get involved, and with the greater your skill set develops and attributes increase, there is a tendency to do more but which is great, but remember your family at home and also don’t let it impact adversely on your day job. It’s totally possible to do all 3. Some of the jobs I have been involved in over the years I see as an absolute privilege; effectively as a member of the public, with the excellent training and support you are given, being heavily involved on some in jobs that the majority of the population will never see is unique.
If thinking about becoming a regular officer, there are not many jobs that will give you this level of insight in terms of try before you buy. Go for it, you won’t regret it – so many unique opportunities are available.
"Wave really cares about its employees and about it’s role in the community. We are so lucky to have had 2 special constables working for us, and one of those has recently left us to become a full-time police officer.
The other, Perry Woolner has been a special constable with Essex Police for seventeen years and is a valued senior manager in Wave. Wave became an ESP partner to celebrate and promote the importance of workplaces supporting ‘Specials’. We give 10 days’ additional paid leave per year for our specials to attend police training, and have fully supported their release for emergency assistance during this pandemic.
The transferrable skills special constables have should not be underestimated, and Perry has supported the HR department on many occasions. Perry is trauma trained and was able to give immediate help when one of our senior managers arrived into work one day in complete shock, having been the first on the scene of a serious road traffic accident on his way to work. No one in our organisation could have dealt with this in the way Perry did and as well as bringing much needed calm, he was able to advise of what to do next and how to get ongoing support.
As a HR Director I deal with many employee cases, including stalking, domestic violence and other difficult situations and on occasion Perry has been able to give me immediate and guided advice on these issues and share the specialist knowledge and training he has. I can’t recommend enough the value to the business of supporting this great National programme."