What you could be doing | Special Constables

THIS IS AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY TO USE YOUR SPARE TIME TO HELP FIGHT CRIME

Special Constabulary

If you have some time to spare in your busy life, would like to help your local community and are interested in a career with the police, the Special Constabulary is the ideal place for you. 

Special constables are dedicated individuals who, after a hard day at work in their regular job, still have the enthusiasm and drive it takes to devote some of their free time to help others. 

Specials work alongside regular police officers and police community support officers to help police their local communities. 

They play a key role in crime reduction, detection and incident response by adding additional capacity to the services provided by regular officers. By providing a visible uniformed presence, special constables help to reduce the fear of crime and promote confidence within their local communities.

Their position within the force is therefore very much appreciated and invaluable.

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Why join the specials?

As a special constable in Derbyshire, not only will you make a real difference to people’s lives, you’ll have the chance to regularly challenge yourself and discover what you’re capable of. You’ll also be able to gain a real competitive edge, meaning you’re well placed in the employment market. You’ll lead a more varied and challenging life too, doing something new and exciting while learning useful transferable skills and gaining valuable experience. Not only this, you’ll meet lots of new people along the way.

There are excellent opportunities for progression too. Once a special constable has achieved their Independent Patrol Status (IPS) they’re able to apply for further development opportunities, such as special sergeant. This involves assisting in the operational effectiveness of the force by supervising, developing and supporting special constables. And, if you have what it takes, you could become a special inspector - someone who assists in the divisional management of specials sergeants and constables.

Investing in your development

INITIAL TRAINING PROGRAMME

The National Strategy for the deployment of special constables was developed by various police forces working collaboratively. As a special constable your time spent on training will be an invaluable experience building upon the skills and abilities you already possess. You’ll also develop new skills and abilities to enable you to deal with the wide variety of incidents that you may come into contact with. 

In Derbyshire, all recruits must complete the Initial Training Programme for Special Constables. The course structure includes first aid and self-defence. Throughout your training you’ll be guided by police training staff who will pass on their knowledge and advice gained from years of experience. You’ll be fully supported and assessed while being developed in this new area of your life.

INITIAL POLICE LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME

As a special constable in Derbyshire you can choose between the following courses:
 

  • A weekend course consisting of an induction day on a Friday, then 22 days of training over consecutive weekends, with a weekend break in the middle. This is conducted at our force headquarters training school.
  • A two-week course with 12 days training at weekends. This is conducted at our force headquarters training school.
  • A blended course, incorporating self-study, ‘virtual’ classrooms over the internet and classroom-based consolidation days at our force headquarters training school. This course is continuous over a five-month period.


At the end of each of these courses there is a final exam and role play assessment centre.

THE ATTESTATION

At the end of the course you’ll have gained valuable experience and life skills, your confidence will be raised to new levels. You’ll be invited to attend an attestation evening where you’ll swear the oath of a constable. You’ll also receive your warrant card and a course certificate. You can invite your family and friends who have supported you throughout your course. 

EMPLOYER SUPPORT

We know that some employers are willing to release their staff to attend these courses, so it may be worth approaching your employer - if you have one - and enquiring about time off to attend this course. The life skills you will acquire or develop are transferable into your professional discipline.

CONTINUOUS FURTHER DEVELOPMENT

There are specialist departments in our organisation and you may consider an attachment to one of these in order to enhance your skills. Continuous development is important in the police service and you will be given opportunities to enhance the skills you wish to develop.

What skills are required?

Special constables are no ordinary people. They have the drive and dedication to work with the Derbyshire Constabulary in their spare time, to help make their neighbourhoods a safer place. You’ll need to have good life skills and experience such as being:
 

  • A quick thinking team player
  • Able to cope with the unexpected
  • Calm in a crisis
  • An excellent communicator
  • Tolerant and comfortable working within a team
  • Respectful of others and able to resolve disputes sensitively and appropriately
  • Good at planning and taking the initiative
  • Honest, fair and impartial

What do you need?

To apply you must be a United Kingdom, European Union or commonwealth citizen, with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom.

Whether or not you were born in the United Kingdom, you should have resided here for the 3 years immediately preceding your application.

Health requirements

You’ll need to undergo a medical assessment to make sure you’re healthy enough for the intense training required. Your application will be rejected if you fail to meet the minimum acceptable medical standard for entry. The assessment will generally be carried out by our Occupational Health Team, who will check Body Mass Index (BMI), eye sight, colour vision, lung function and hearing. You will also be asked to complete a confidential medical history questionnaire. Depending on your medical history, we may have to contact your GP/specialist for further information. Once you’ve been declared medically fit, we’ll progress your application to the next stage.

Fitness Requirements

You’ll need to pass a Job-Related Fitness Test (JRFT9) to check your fitness levels. This test determines whether you’re fit for the job and ready for Officer Safety Training, where you’ll learn to protect yourself and others. You’ll also be asked to take a running test (known as a multi-stage shuttle run or bleep test) to level 5:4.

Driving licence

A full UK/EU valid manual driving licence is not required.

Background checks

You must declare any previous spent and unspent convictions and have a basic background check to get Security Check level clearance.

What may hold you back?

You cannot apply to become a special constable with us if you:
 

  • Have been, or are a member of, a group or extreme political organisation such as BNP, National Front or Combat 18 that stirs up racial hatred and violence.
  • Are waiting to appear in court or have any serious convictions or recent cautions, bind-overs or findings of guilt.
  • Misuse drugs, solvents or anabolic steroids. But each case is considered upon its own merits.
  • Have tattoos on your face, neck or hands that could cause offence. If you have a tattoo, you’ll be asked to provide a description and photographs of the tattoo. The nature, location, size, prominence and appearance of tattoos will be considered.
  • Have any current County Court Judgements (CCJs) against you, or are the subject of an Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA). If you’ve been registered bankrupt, you may only apply if it is at least three years since the date your debts were discharged.

Frequently asked questions

What are the eligibility requirements to be a Special Constable?

Be of British nationality, a commonwealth citizen or citizen of the Irish Republic, and in good health and of good character. You may apply to become a special constable from the age of 18. You must also have lived in the UK for the last three years.

How much time is a Special Constable expected to commit?

As a special constable in Derbyshire, you are asked to commit an average minimum of four hours per week on a regular basis. However, if your other commitments allow, you can do more than four hours. Due to the investment required in every person who undertakes the specials training, we expect each candidate to serve a minimum of 12 months with Derbyshire Constabulary as a special.

How long does the application process take?

We aim to process applications as quickly and efficiently as possible and will keep applicants informed at all stages of the process.

Will it cost me anything?

No. All uniform, training and equipment are provided free of charge. There is no salary payable, but expenses for travel to and from duty are refunded along with a ‘boot allowance’ and meal expenses in some circumstances.

Will I get any allowances or expenses?

Special constables in Derbyshire get an annual allowance of £75.00 which is subject to a number of hours being performed over the course of the year. You will also be provided with your uniform and travelling expenses.

What uniform and equipment will I get?

You will receive the same uniform and equipment as a uniformed police officer during your induction training.

Do I need perfect eyesight?

As part of the role you may be required to give evidence, so eyesight and colour perception is important. The wearing of force-issued spectacles or contact lenses are permitted but the degree of eyesight correction must only be slight. Please call the recruiting team if you require further information or clarification.

Where would I work?

Generally, you will be posted to a Local Policing Unit close to where you live. As a volunteer, we would not ask you to work anywhere against your will. Under some circumstances we may exclude you from duty within a certain area and ask you to help somewhere else, but a full explanation would be given.

Can I join the regulars if I’m a special?

Derbyshire Constabulary believes in giving everybody the same opportunity. You would receive no preferential treatment if you had once worked as a special. However, the training and experience you gain as a special can help to develop those skills that are needed to be a full-time regular police officer.

Are there any occupations a Special Constable cannot hold?

As special constables possess the powers and privileges of a regular constable even when not in uniform, it is necessary to minimise the risk that they may be pressed to abuse their powers whilst off duty. The Home Office has identified a number of occupations where there may be a conflict of interest with the role of special constables. In view of this, applicants who are employed in these capacities would not be eligible for appointment to the Special Constabulary. In addition, any serving special constable obtaining employment in an ineligible occupation should report to the chief constable and would be required to resign from the specials.

Some of the ineligible roles include traffic wardens, school crossing patrols, magistrates, clerks to Justice of Courts, licensees, security personnel and private detectives. A full list is available upon request by telephoning 0300 3301330.

I have epilepsy, can I still join?

All candidates' medical health is considered on an individual basis, in confidence with the Occupational Health Team. If you would like to get in touch with the medical health professionals in the Occupational Health Team using the 101 number, they will be able to offer individual advice.

Can I apply if I'm colour blind?

All candidate's medical health is considered on an individual basis, in confidence with the Occupational Health Team. If you would like to get in touch with the medical health professionals in the Occupational Health Team using the 101 number, they will be able to offer individual advice.

Can I still join if I have tattoos?

Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the police service. It depends on their size, nature and location, and sometimes on the extent.

If you have tattoos on your face, neck, forearms or hands, you must indicate their location and provide at least two photographs of each tattoo. The first must be a close-up of the tattoo and the second must clearly show the location of the tattoo on your body.

Please ensure that you describe the tattoo and the wording, giving a translation if applicable. Describe any personal significance or meaning that you attribute to the tattoo.

Can I still join if I have a previous conviction or caution?

We would only be able to give general advice in this area until an application reaches vetting stages. Not all cautions or convictions will lead to your application being turned down. However, failure to disclose any convictions or cautions will result in your application being turned down. In general terms you should not have any convictions or cautions in the last five years but all cases will need to be considered on an individual basis.

Can I apply if I am hard of hearing?

All candidates' medical health is considered on an individual basis, in confidence with the Occupational Health Team. If you would like to get in touch with the medical health professionals in the Occupational Health Team using the 101 number, they will be able to offer individual advice.

Am I too old?

There is no upper age limit but you need to be in good health and be able to meet the standards for fitness and eyesight.

Do I need GCSEs or equivalent?

We do not ask for any educational certificates. We need people with good life skills and experience.

Meet some of the team

Emily Herberts, Special Constable and Neighbourhood Investigation Officer

I joined in 2016 via an apprenticeship in Business Studies before becoming an administrator in the Risk and Referral Unit, Public Protection, which also involved a lot of training. I went on to train new recruits myself before starting as a special constable, which led to more training.

I clearly love training though, because in May 2019, following another 17 weeks training, I became a neighbourhood investigation officer. I’m currently doing both roles and applying to be a full-time police officer. It’s a great place to work. Not only have I been able to progress my skills, I’ve also found a lot more confidence in myself. Derbyshire Constabulary is like one big family.

Meet some of the team

Robert Jones, Special Sergeant

I work in the civil aerospace business, but also wanted to volunteer for an organisation where I could make a difference to the communities we serve. One of the privileges of volunteering with Derbyshire Constabulary is the opportunity see a world that many people don't. There really is nothing better than the feeling you get from doing something that makes someone else’s life that little bit better.

I’ve been involved in complex investigations and responded to incidents right across the county, and the support I’ve received has been brilliant. Derbyshire Constabulary is full of professionals who are passionate about making a difference. Friendship, camaraderie and teamwork - you’ll find all of this, and more, here.

Meet some of the team

David Holmes, Special Sergeant

Some friends who already worked here recommended Derbyshire Constabulary to me, so I attended an open night back in 2016 and knew straight away it was for me. I’ve had some amazing experiences and some truly profound moments since joining. Most notably, I was deployed on the Whaley Bridge Dam incident where I had to help maintain an exclusion zone to prevent loss of life. My role is very much what you make of it. There’s a really family spirit here and a ‘one team’ ethos permeates through ‘the job’. I feel a huge sense of pride to be a part of something so important.

Meet some of the team

Gurdeep Rehal, Special Constable

My ‘day job’ is actually dental surgeon, but I’d been interested in becoming a ‘Special’ for many years, so I volunteered back in 2004. Following my initial training I was ready to assist front line colleagues and have since dealt with so many things I would never have come across in my previous day-to-day life. 

It sounds very clichéd but, the team is friendly, people are approachable and no two days are the same. Everyone looks out for each other too. It’s like working with family. Derbyshire invests heavily in training and everyone is encouraged to say what specific training they need to be able to carry out their role.

Current special constable and volunteer opportunities

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