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Coronavirus (COVID-19): the policing response and what you need to know

Special Constabulary

As a special constable, you will get to see the impact of crime on people’s lives and the extraordinary power you have as an individual to make a real difference.

Being a special constable is both exciting and rewarding and, for many, it is a life-changing decision. Find out what it takes to be a special constable.

What does a special constable do?

Special constables are volunteer police officers. They hold the same powers as regular police officers and work alongside them to prevent and detect crime, wearing identical uniform and issued with the same personal safety equipment and communication devices.

Our special constables hold a position of trust and responsibility and they truly care about helping others, by engaging with the public in order to understand their needs, whatever their background or situation.

Special constables are asked to commit to a minimum of 16 hours a month. For your safety, we do not allow special constables to work full night-shifts, duties must end by 3am unless there are exceptional circumstances.

As a special constable, you will:

  • develop your leadership skills through dealing with situations and people out on patrol, which you would probably never encounter in your day-to-day life
  • keep town centres safe at night
  • keep people safe at the scene of accidents, fires or incidents
  • carry out high-visibility foot patrols to deter and detect criminals and provide public reassurance
  • educate businesses and the community on how to reduce and prevent crime
  • deal with anti-social behaviour on the streets
  • enforce road safety laws in local communities
  • attend road traffic accidents
  • respond to domestic disturbances
  • investigate crime by conducting house-to-house enquiries to gather information
  • get involved in police operations to disrupt and arrest offenders
  • secure convictions by presenting evidence in court to support the justice system in prosecuting offenders
  • pitch in with your team to carry out essential tasks in the station
  • write up incident reports and book detainees into custody
  • be required to complete officer safety and first aid refresher training every year, as well as additional ad-hoc training if your posting requires it

Although you are a volunteer, you are required to follow any reasonable order given to you by a more senior or experienced officer.

Special constables who have achieved independent patrol status and completed the relevant driver training courses are eligible to drive marked police vehicles. A small number of special constables will go on to complete specialist Response Driver Training or Roads Policing Training and be able to drive police vehicles in more challenging and higher risk situations.

Read why some of our special constables decided to join us:

What we offer

A volunteering role like no other.  We offer a unique, stimulating and rewarding role with an opportunity to make a real difference to your community.

You will be given specialist training and equipment so that you are prepared to manage emergency incidents and provide victims with the support that is right for them.

The role and training provided will enable you to face exciting challenges, build your self-confidence and acquire valuable skills, which will assist in your personal and wider career development.

As a special constable, you will:

  • be fully trained and with the right experience, skills and proven ability, you can be promoted and take on more responsibility
  • have the opportunity of training to join specialist teams
  • be able to take pride in your achievements and discover personal strengths you never knew you had
  • get to see the real impact of crime on people’s lives and be in an extremely privileged position to make a difference
  • be provided with uniform and equipment and you will also be able to claim your out of pocket expenses
  • receive support and advice through our occupational health and other associations
  • be able to access other benefits including emergency service discounts and access to sports and social facilities and activities
  • be professional, friendly and build relationships with your colleagues and your communities
  • be enthusiastic, reliable, self-disciplined, flexible and confident enough to take control of situations
  • take pride in your work and be proud to say you are a special constable

Recruitment process
Re-join as a special constable

If you have previously worked as a special constable or are a former police officer for a police force in England or Wales, you can apply to join or return to Avon and Somerset Police.

  • Each request will be considered on an individual basis.
  • You will be required to successfully pass recruitment checks, including physical and medical assessment and an interview.
  • You will be assessed to determine the level of training needed to get you back to an operational status.
  • If the gap is over five years, you may be required to complete our full recruitment process.

Apply to re-join as a special constable

For more information, see our Special Constabulary guidance for re-joiners, transferees and former Police Officers.

Special constable transferees

We welcome applications to transfer from another force to Avon and Somerset Police.

  • Each request will be considered on an individual basis.
  • You will be required to successfully pass recruitment checks and an interview.
  • A training analysis will be completed to ascertain your training requirements.

Apply to transfer to Avon and Somerset Police as a special constable

For more information, see our Special Constabulary guidance for re-joiners, transferees and former Police Officers.

Employer Supported Policing Scheme

The Employer Supported Policing (ESP) Scheme is a great way for employers to play their part in making their local communities safer by releasing employees to volunteer with us.

Find out more about the Employer Supported Policing Scheme.

Equal Opportunities

We welcome applications from people with disabilities and will do all we can to make reasonable adjustments.

Let us know if you have a disability and the type of adjustment which you might need to enable you to apply for and do the job.

We particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups.

Ready to join us?


Contact our Talent Acquisition team to make a recruitment related query.

Stay up to date with our latest vacancies by registering for our job alert email service.

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