Why did you become a special? I became a special to satisfy my interest in policing. It was always an ambition of mine to become a police officer, but my career went down a different path when I got involved in marketing. Being a special allows me to follow a career that I love and make positive changes to the communities of Merseyside.
What skills do you bring to the role and what does your work involve? I volunteer around 50 hours per month and my work is really varied. Initially I carried out regular policing duties such as community patrolling, but having finished my probationary period, I have now joined the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), where I hope to use my interest in investigation to provide assistance to the department.
I brought life experiences to the role initially; having dealt with difficult situations including conflict. I brought experiences of working with diversity groups such as faith groups and the LGBT community, as well as my ability to think outside of the box and work under pressure.
I’ve also been able to bring my professional skills as a marketeer to the specials team by creating and implementing our first ever marketing plan. I manage our social media channels and help produce newsletters, website content and other communications products.
What have you gained from being a special? I’ve gained the opportunity to make an impact; both in terms of recruiting new special constables, who in turn, will make their own impact, but also by supporting frontline policing; protecting people that need help.
Despite already having experience with difficult situations and conflict, I’ve developed these skills ten-fold. I’ve been thrown into situations that few people would ever come across and you have no option but to deal with it in the moment – we deal with make or break situations. Thankfully, it’s made me a much stronger character.
What is the reality of volunteering like compared to what you had expected? I became a special to make a difference but had little expectations. It’s been a rollercoaster journey but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve become a hard core advocate for an organisation that provides such vital support for the people of Merseyside. I’ve been presented with opportunities to develop personally, as well as opportunities to pursue key interests of mine – such as investigation through my work with the CID.
What is your proudest achievement as a special? Being recognised for hard work is really rewarding. I’m lucky enough to have great peers and supervisors within the special constabulary and within the regular force, who are not afraid to praise good work. – It’s a welcome change from the corporate world.
I was recently presented with a certificate of merit for my marketing efforts, which are resulting in an increase in applications for our Constabulary at a time when we need to recruit.
What is the best thing about volunteering? Seeing an instant impact – something you don’t get in most volunteering roles. You know that whatever you do each day will have an impact on somebody’s life; somebody who in many cases has been a victim. By dealing with people professionally and sensitively, we can reassure them that we will do all we can to achieve a positive outcome for them, or take someone dangerous off the streets.
What’s the biggest challenge? Keeping up to date with skills and knowledge can be a challenge – especially if you don’t have a shift on duty for a period of weeks. Thankfully in Merseyside, we’re lucky to have supportive colleagues who are happy to help.
What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering for the police? If you have an interest in policing, can commit to giving up 16 hours a month and want to do something positive in your area, just do it. The role of special constable is not easy by any means, but the rewards are incredible; you will grow as a person within days of becoming a warranted officer. You will become confident, develop invaluable skills and be part of the policing family.