This coming weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 5th and 6th, a Specials Awareness Weekend will highlight the capabilities and dedication of special constables, both in Sussex and nationwide.
These officers generously volunteer their own time to work alongside regular police while often employed full or part-time in other careers. There are currently 375 special constables serving throughout Sussex.
They commit to a minimum of 16 unpaid hours a month helping to keep Sussex safe and free from crime. Last year they volunteered 82,000 hours across the county.
An increasing number of enlightened employers contribute to funding staff for all or part of the time they spend on police work, making it an attractive proposition for many more people while reflecting credit on their companies for such pro-active support.
Special constables, many of whom can be seen on duty at a range of events in the county’s larger towns this weekend, have exactly the same powers of arrest and investigation as full-time officers. All are trained to a high standard, but it is the experience and diversity that they bring to the force that makes them such a vital cog in how the police service is run.
In Sussex, they blend seamlessly with regulars to fulfil the myriad functions that officers perform day in, day out to enforce the law and o provide reassurance to the county’s 1.5 million residents.
One of the special constables’ latest and most successful contributions was to provide “feet on the ground” for Manhunt, a concept launched in Brighton and Hove last October and now becoming established in both East and West Sussex to track down and arrest people wanted by the police.
Since last autumn, the Manhunt team in Brighton – led by just two regular officers supported by some half-a-dozen special constables – has arrested more than 100 suspects and offenders. It recently earned the runners-up title at the South East Specials of the Year Awards, hosted by Thames Valley Police in Oxford on 16 March.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Special constables have been involved in policing Sussex since 1831 and are an integral part of policing in the modern world. I am a huge advocate of the benefits of volunteering and helping to make a difference in your local community.
“In August 2013 I launched the recruitment campaign to increase the number of special constables serving in Sussex to 450 by 2015. Some have already started with the force and I’ve had the pleasure of observing them in various stages of their training.
“The first national Specials Awareness Weekend was held in 2003. I’ve no doubt that the one in Sussex this weekend is going to be a very exciting two days. I would urge anyone who is interested in becoming a special constable to come along and meet this unique group of people whose experience, diversity and skills are greatly valued by Sussex Police and local communities.”
More information about specials can be found on the Sussex Police website or by calling 101.To register interest in becoming a special constable email your full name, postal and email addresses and contact telephone numbers to: firstname.lastname@example.org