#MakeADifference – More Special Constables volunteering in your communities
Three and a half years ago, you asked for more local, visible, accessible policing.
Roger Hirst, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex set an ambitious goal for more Special Constables working in your communities.
Simon Jesse tells us why he decided to commit 100 hours per month to helping his local community.
Despite working full time for Ford Motor Company, Simon Jesse volunteers 100 hours of his spare time each month to working as a Special Constable.
His calling came after a road traffic accident happened in front of him and his instinct was to not only manage the scene, but to help the police with their inquiries as a result.
He said: “My reaction was automatic. I then saw an advert for the Special Constabulary which I thought was interesting as I had liked helping at the road traffic accident. I had considered joining five years earlier, but my daughter was just starting secondary school and I wanted to put my time into supporting her.
“Now, it was the right time.”
While the expectation on anyone signing up as a Special is to give 16 hours per month, many people give over and above that amount.
With a teenage daughter settled in her own life and a wife working shifts for the NHS, volunteering suits Simon’s family lifestyle.
The safety design engineer said: “I found myself with free time on my hands, so this fitted perfectly. I was stuck playing on the Xbox every night; I was turning into a couch potato. It was my way of relaxing, and that’s fine, but I am so much happier being out and doing something positive in my community.”
Simon filled in an online application form, attended an induction day, went through the vetting process, completed a fitness test and began his training. He learnt about basic law, legislation, community engagement, importance of visibility in the role and how to progress to work with different divisions, such as dog handlers or marine support.
Training can be completed one of two ways; either by completing an intensive three-week course or by attending weekend sessions over a period of 14 weeks.
Once completed, candidates complete a portfolio of policing tasks, including carrying out arrests and dealing with thefts and domestic incidents.
For Simon, the traditional role of the community “bobby” was what interested him the most. He has been a Community Special Constable in the Braintree district for the last two years and acts as Community Policing Team Special Sergeant, taking part in warrants, operations and attending community events.
He said: “I had an interest in the whole ‘bobby on the beat’ aspect. I was really interested in the Community Special Constable role as that’s how I remember the police when I was 10 or 11. At the age of 48 now, I felt I was at the right age to look at that kind of policing. I wanted to be a positive, proactive influence.
“As soon as you complete your training and are able to go out there on your own, it can feel quite daunting. However, as soon as you get into the community you are treated as if you have been an officer for 30 years. With that comes a certain level of respect and responsibility.
“The main objective is visibility. We are patrolling the streets where people live; we are not just going to the skatepark, we are outside their front doors. We are providing people with the police force they believe has been missing for many years. As a Special, with full policing powers we are able to support the shifts going out and dealing with the difficult and unpleasant stuff that goes on as well. There is so much work for them, they do not have the time to focus on just being visible. We can be on the ground all day long on a Saturday, for example, and meet people. That’s where we get the most positive feedback as we are being seen. As a result, people are opening up to us and giving us intelligence.
“It is incredibly rewarding. I come home feeling better than when I went out, knowing that I have made a difference. I get everything I want out of the role.”
Find out more and apply to be a Special here: https://www.essex.police.uk/police-forces/essex-police/areas/essex-police/ca/careers/special-constabulary/