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

Mehrannisa, Special Constable

Helping others whilst progressing my career.

Mehrannisa

I found out about the Special Constabulary at a Law Fair at the University of the West of England while I was a Law Student. I approached the Avon and Somerset stand and explained I wanted to be involved in a role that included supporting domestic violence victims. I was then told to consider being a police officer – to which I initially responded to like – how can I possibly do that while being a student? I looked more into being a special constable and quickly understood the attraction of being one.

I have an autistic brother who has severe needs and this has taught me a lot about communication and how best to deal with vulnerable adults. I am also very passionate about supporting victims of serious crime, specifically domestic violence and safeguarding children. Of course, these are all circumstances that police officers find themselves dealing with on a daily basis. When I learned that I could be the first response to these individuals, it really inspired and encouraged me to just apply.

Flexibility and being part of a team

There is a good team spirit and morale when you go in to support your team and they do appreciate you giving your time to be there. Of course, I find it exciting when interesting jobs and pursuits do arise! But ultimately, my favourite shifts have been where I have made a difference and have been able to support a vulnerable victim.

“I like the flexibility of being able to be a special constable while pursuing my day job.”

I started training in October 2015 and my first official shift was in March 2016 – so I’ve been a special constable for over five years now. Initially, I didn’t struggle with the work, life and volunteering balance, as I joined in my third year of university (so I managed to find quite a few free days to make it work).

However, there was a point where I was working full time, studying a post-graduate masters part-time on alternate weekends and trying to fit in shifts (as well as keeping sane and socialising). That was a tricky couple of years and I am still undertaking training now while working full time. However, I have managed to find ways to make it work and sometimes try to prioritise going in for a shift over a social event.

Making a difference

There are many moments that make me feel proud to be a special constable – it really is difficult to pinpoint a particular one. From arresting someone twice the size of me to then building a good rapport with them, effectively referring individuals to appropriate support networks, protecting victims from serious domestic violence, safeguarding children on various occasions and undertaking a comprehensive (and lengthy) search of a property or a vehicle, it has been very rewarding.

Ultimately, I am proud to be part of a team of regular officers who do an incredible job every day and still give the time to support you in your special constable duties. You really will never understand the role of a police officer until you see it first-hand yourself. I have learnt so much from the role about the wider society we serve.

It really does flourish your understanding of different cultures and communities which is invaluable in itself.

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