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Aspiring voluntary officers are being urged to sign up to find out more about life in Staffordshire Police’s Special Constabulary as the recruitment process opens.
A virtual familarisation session is set to run next month where anyone thinking of becoming a Special can learn more about the role and what will be expected of them.
The force is looking to bolster the 204 Specials currently serving communities across the county and add a broad range of volunteer officers of various ages and backgrounds.
Fully-trained Specials have full police powers, wear the force uniform, and work alongside the county’s regular officers on a wide range of incidents.
Last year it was confirmed that along with standard issue police kit, the voluntary officers would also be receiving body worn video and mobile data devices to support them as they deal with various crimes across Staffordshire.
Just like regular officers, the Specials also have the opportunity to progress through the ranks and over time can become a Special Sergeant, Special Inspector and Special Chief Inspector.
While many new volunteers aim to become regular police officers, a number are happy to carry out the role alongside their career.
Chief Officer of Staffordshire’s Special Constabulary, Tony Athersmith, said: “By becoming a Special Constable, successful applicants will have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution to our communities by helping hold offenders accountable for their actions while also supporting vulnerable residents.
“It is a role like no other and no two shifts are the same. Those who join us have plenty of opportunity to progress in an extremely supportive and forward-thinking environment.
“We are looking for people who are good communicators, are able to use their own initiative and can handle unpredictable situations in a calm manner. We also expect our Specials to be focused on making a positive contribution in the communities where they serve. We are keen to hear from people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Anyone who wants to apply to join can only do so by first attending the familarisation session – set to take place on March 5 – where they will have the chance to find out plenty of details about what the role entails. Those interested must register by noon on March 3 by following links on the force website.
Successful applicants will be trained over the course of nine weekends and will be provided with the skills to handle different situations. They will also gain a sound knowledge of the law. Special officers are required to commit to a minimum of 16 hours per month – which can be arranged to fit around existing work and personal commitments. It is likely the training course will begin in May.
Special Chief Inspector Josh Wright currently works in the learning and development department and oversees the training package provided to volunteer officers. Josh balances that role alongside his full-time job as a paramedic. He said: “We have people join us from all walks of life - from gas engineers to university students.
“Some people can’t believe I do this and work as a paramedic but I enjoy what I do and in doing these roles I am helping people and giving something back to the community.
“This is an excellent time to join the Special Constabulary and I would urge anyone interested to sign up for the familiarisation event to find out more.”
To register for the familiarisation event visit the vacancies section of the force website, select the tab labelled ‘events’ and then click on ‘Special Constable – Familiarisation Event’. Alternatively click here.
One of our current Specials has shared her story about life as a volunteer officer:
‘I am so proud to be a Special’
While Anita Moore’s grandson is always keen to tell people how proud he is to have a grandmother in the police force – the Cannock-based Special Sergeant is equally as proud to wear the uniform and serve the community.
It has been a varied journey for Anita to finally realise her childhood dream of being in the force but the 52-year-old is content with the path she’s currently on.
And the mother-of-one is also keen for others to find out more about being a Special and realise their own ambitions.
Pictured: Special Sergeant Anita Moore
She said: “For anyone thinking about it, I would say register for the familiarisation event and find out more. I can’t imagine not being with the Special Constabulary and I am just so glad I joined.”
It was back in October 2011 when Anita joined up while she was studying for a policing degree at the University of Wolverhampton in what represented a fresh direction having previously served in the army.
Anita had joined the Women’s Royal Army Corps as a 17-year-old and spent five years as a soldier before returning home to have her son. She then went on to join the Territorial Army and in turn was attached to the Royal Military Police who she served with for around 13 years, which included spending time in Bosnia.
Anita, who holds the NATO Medal for Yugoslavia Service, the Volunteer Reserves Medal and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, said: “It was through the TA that I found out about a policing degree at university and thought it sounded really interesting. I had wanted to be in the police since I was at primary school but my life had taken me in a different direction.
“I contacted the leader of the course as I didn’t think I would get on but they were happy to have me. As part of the course I joined the Special Constabulary and I haven’t looked back.”
Anita, who works as a public contact officer for West Midlands Police, is based in Cannock and has worked her way up to be a Special Sergeant. She said: “I hope what I have done shows that you can join at any age and nobody should see it as ‘something for young people’.
“My grandson likes to tell people his nana is a police officer and I feel really proud to be with the Specials. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping people and the Special Constabulary is so supportive and accommodating when I need to help out with my grandson, who has autism.
“I would just say to anyone interested, to register and find out even more – you’ve nothing to lose.”