Key workers among those providing ‘Special’ support to force during pandemic
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Volunteers from the Special Constabulary in Staffordshire have given the most hours across the entirety of the Midlands region – totalling to the equivalent to 36 full-time officers on a weekly basis since lockdown began.
A total of 14,510 hours have been given by 159 Specials since 23 March.
The Special Constabulary is supported by Employee Supported Policing (ESP) – a partnership scheme in which employers allow their staff to train and patrol as special constables. Employers are asked to provide paid leave for some of these hours.
Among the 159 Specials are a number of full-time key workers including a paramedic, a delivery driver, a teacher, IT technicians and supermarket staff.
Special Constable Sam Clark, who volunteers for Central Motorway Police Group (CMPG), has given up almost 200 hours of his own time with the help of his employer SIPS Education.
Sam, who works on an IT Service Desk, has been a Special with CMPG since 2012. He said: “In my day job, I work on a busy IT Service Desk and unfortunately, sometimes things do go wrong.
“The communications skills I have learnt and developed as a Special Constable have enabled me to remain calm, listen and communicate clearly in order to quickly resolve issues.”
He added: “I’m very lucky that my employer recognises the skills I have gained and have signed up to the ESP scheme. This has enabled me take additional paid leave to perform duties and key training.”
Maimoona Mir, a Special Constable based in Newcastle-under-Lyme, is a dentist but uses her free time to help police the streets with the rest of the Special Constabulary.
She said: “My favourite part of my day job as a dentist is doing smile makeovers. Seeing a patient genuinely happy after getting the smile of their dreams makes my job feel really rewarding.
“However, I also enjoy making a positive difference to people I meet while on duty as a Special, be it big or small. Even if it’s as small a gesture as giving someone directions or as big as helping a lost child. It’s a matter of great pride for me.”
Since 1 January 2020, the Specials have:
- Given 30,476 hours
- Arrested 110 people
- Assisted with 217 arrests
- Recorded 77 crimes
- Transported 161 prisoners
- Taken 175 statements
- Carried out 138 stop searches
- Attended 116 road traffic collisions
- Seized 63 vehicles
Tony Athersmith, Chief Officer of Specials, said: “The Specials have really stepped up to the challenge during this unprecedented time and these staggering figures show that.
“To think that some of our Specials are key workers but are still giving up their own time to police the streets is utterly selfless. Not just the Specials, but the families of those who give their time to us should also be recognised.
“Everyone in the Constabulary should be proud of their hard work and commitment during such a challenging time.”