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

John, Special Constable

Making a difference in my local community.

John signed up to be a Special Constable with Gloucestershire Constabulary when he was 19 years old. “I was always interested in policing but was not certain that I wanted to do it full-time. At the time I was working in a technical role for British Railways, now Network Rail”.  

He continues: “I wanted to get stuck in to general uniformed police work, rather than just traffic duty, shows etc and was fortunate to be ‘adopted’ by a larger than life fearless regular officer with whom I worked a lot in evenings and weekends.” 

“I learnt a lot of skills from him that I still use today, 45 years later. The camaraderie in the police was great and it developed my confidence in many fields of human interaction. Before long I was ‘climbing the career ladder with British Railway, due in part to skills I’d learnt through the police and supporting my local community through my police work.” 

Having a career and volunteering

John describes being a Special Constable as a foot in both camps: having a paid career in a chosen walk of life and also a voluntary role as a part-time police officer.

John explains “Like any voluntary role, it’s important to balance all the priorities of life. My first consideration is my immediate family, second my full-time railway profession, and thirdly my commitment to police activities. Over the years all have been juggled, without real detriment to any.” 

John’s employer, Network Rail, was signed up to the ‘Citizens in Policing’ programme so John got five days paid leave each year to help with his policing commitments.

Giving back to my community 

“Specials really do give something back to the community. It can be frustrating, at times hazardous, but overall it’s rewarding in terms of feeling that you have helped those in need whether it be re-assurance to someone who’s lost, injured, lonely or a victim of crime. Even your presence can prevent crime or disorder.”

Special Constables are an integral part of modern policing, working seamlessly alongside regular colleagues. “The chances are, at peak times of evenings and weekends, if you see a several officers together at least one will be a Special. Some initiatives and operations may be run entirely by Specials.”

“You’ll not get rich – but you’ll get a whole new and satisfying aspect to your life, make new friends and make an enormous difference to your community.” 

“I’ve retired now from a senior position in Network Rail and so being a Special is my sole ‘work’ environment. I’m stationed at Bristol Airport where the team provides high profile uniform policing and is effect back to what I most enjoy about policing – walking around, talking to people, and providing public re-assurance.”

“To anyone thinking about becoming a Special, I thoroughly recommend it.”

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