2018 is finally here, and for many, Christmas and New year was a time to relax and take it easy. For many on my team however, it was a time to pull on their boots and join the emergency services on some of the busiest shifts of the year. Christmas and New year are always busy times for the Police, and I know our teams in the West were grateful for the support of the Special Constabulary boosting numbers on all the key dates. A big thank you to the Specials for giving their time over Christmas, and thank you also to their families for supporting them.
As a Special Constabulary we are celebrating 17,904 hours volunteered in 2017 by our officers. This is a great achievement, with Specials working hard all over Gwent to make our communities safer places to live and work.
January has seen plenty of action already for the specials. We have been involved in a number of warrants over the past few weeks, one of which saw two of our officers play key roles in the arrest of 5 individuals for supplying cocaine, with lots of property and cash seized. A brilliant outcome, and a big well done to SC Leonard and SC Casley.
If you follow us on twitter, you may see us talking a lot about our “JRU”. Gwent Specials run a Joint Response Unit with the Welsh Ambulance Service. A Special Constable is paired up with a Paramedic every weekend evening, in a specialist vehicle. Being able to respond to emergency and priority calls with a paramedic and an officer together, saves the force and the ambulance service a huge amount of money and time. This pioneering project which has been running for over a year now is a great example of collaboration between the emergency services, and once again highlights the dedication and innovation of the Gwent Specials.
2018 will mean saying goodbye to some of our team who are leaving us to train as full time police officers in Gwent. For some officers, joining the specials is a great way to see if they would like to work as Police Officers full time, and we wish them all the best as they start out in their new careers.
For others, joining the Specials is not a full time career move, but rather a role they choose alongside their regular jobs to contribute to the community, and to gain some amazing skills and experiences. To give you a bit of an insight into the life of a Special Constable, I will be introducing you to a different officer each month.
To start us off, let me introduce you to Shane who is stationed in Cwmbran:
Shane, why did you join the Specials?
There have been times in life when I’ve needed the police, and my family have needed the police. Now my children have grown up giving me more free time, I can’t think of a better way to give something back to the community than volunteering for the police.
What is your day job?
I’m a Production Manager for a company called Glatfelter. With social responsibility as part of their core values, they have fully supported me and championed my application, training and progression as a special Constable.
What do you gain from being a Special?
Apart from a sense of pride and achievement, the different experiences and knowledge gained being a special not only helps me in my day role but in my personal life too.
What is it like working alongside regular officers?
It can be exhilarating and intense with a strong feeling of camaraderie. Despite the seriousness of the role, there is certainly no shortage of fun and adventure.
Being a Special takes a lot of dedication. How do you find a good work life balance?
The great thing about being a special is it’s voluntary so you’re always able to fit the hours around your existing work and private life. A supporting company certainly helps and not forgetting a supportive wife.
Do you enjoy your role?
In a nutshell, I LOVE IT. No two shifts are the same. Just wish I was in a position to have joined a long time ago.
Shane is a great asset to our team, do say hello if you see him out and about.
2018 is going to be a busy year for the Specials and we have some great plans ahead.
For daily updates, follow my team on Twitter @gpspecials
S/Inspector Esther McLaughlin