I was inspired to join the Special Constabulary because I loved watching cop shows when I was growing up. I also became aware of lots of anti-social behaviour issues and people fighting at weekends on High Street North/South in Dunstable and I thought “I wish I could do something about that”. Then I saw an article in a local newspaper about Special Constables at Bedfordshire Police which led me to applying.
I spend my time volunteering in response in the south of the county which covers Luton, Dunstable, Houghton Regis and Leighton Buzzard.
I’m very proud to serve the UK and the people of Bedfordshire. I come from a family who have served the nation in various ways. My dad was a retained Bedfordshire fire officer, my mum was in the Girl Guiding movement and both my grandfathers served in the armed forces, so I guess I’m continuing the tradition.
I’m a home worker for Telefonica O2 UK, as Unix Services Delivery Lead but simply put I’m an IT Manager and help fix O2’s big computer systems. My employers are really understanding and supportive of my volunteering role. Working from home gives me the flexibility to volunteer as much as I can.
I joined Bedfordshire police as a special constable in July 1989. Which seems like a very long time ago, when I was much, much younger.
Joining in 1989 was very different to joining today. There wasn’t really a training process back then. I was sworn in by the Magistrate on Monday, went to HQ at Kempston on Wednesday to get my uniform and went out on patrol for the first time on Friday with no initial training. It was a very learn on the job process back then.
I’m very relieved that the initial and ongoing training is much better these days.
Being the first Beds special constable to attend and pass the standard response driving course is an amazing honour. It was an absolutely incredible two weeks of training that has provided a brilliant skill which means I can help serve the communities of Bedfordshire better.
In my role I spend a lot of time supporting response teams. This could mean attending as a first response unit at domestic cases, burglaries, anti-social behaviour, violent incidents, road traffic collisions or neighbour disputes. I’ve even been part of the team first at scene at murders, manslaughters and serious sexual offences.
A huge part of the role is also about safeguarding people, helping people get the support from partner agencies such as healthcare, local councils or our very own Signposting Hub. It’s very rewarding to be able to help people in this way too.
I’m a Special Sergeant so I look after a fabulous team of brilliant volunteers who make a difference to the communities of Bedfordshire by being Special Constables. What could be better than that?
If you show good commitment there are great opportunities available these days. I am a response driver, a Police Support Unit level 2 officer, Method of Entry trained, Police National Computer trained, PIP Level 1 statement taker trained, SARA problem solving trained. I’m also trained as a tutor constable for new Special Constables, and have been fortunate enough to attend leadership training. We also get law training input and first aid skills.
I have gained so many personal skills during my time as a special. I’m a better driver now and I’m probably more patient than when I was younger. The role has given me an immense set of skills to help me in my working life too, like dealing with paperwork and admin skills, including the ability to write detailed reports, resolving conflicts and dispute, problem solving, leadership and tutoring skills.
I absolutely feel that I’m making a difference to the people of Bedfordshire, even more so today than when I joined. You can end up dealing with anything and helping anyone! As specials, we have great responsibility on our shoulders and can help our regular colleagues deal with the huge demands that they tackle every single day.
Volunteering needs planning and commitment. If you say you are going to commit to a duty you need to stick to it. Specials are welcomed to carry out duties any day of the week, so it can fit well with people who work shifts. But duties can also be completed in the evenings or weekends. You will be useful whenever you can help, but you need to commit to the role and be prepared to work to develop your skills.
If you’re thinking of joining the specials it’s an opportunity for you to change the world for the better, so it’s got to be worth you considering it!