The 'Specials', as they are often known, serve as voluntary officers, under the command of regular senior officers and have their own rank structure.
Specials have the same powers as regular officers, they wear an almost identical uniform, carry the same equipment and receive exactly the same training as regular officers.
They make a significant contribution to policing in their county, by performing a huge variety of roles to support regular officers. They carry out core day-to-day policing duties such as foot patrols or responding to reports of missing people, and also train to work within specialist policing teams such as roads policing, protecting vulnerable people or community partnership teams.
Specials spend around four hours a week, or more, supporting the police to tackle crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour and to build relationships with communities. They must complete at least 16 hours of service per month, which are arranged flexibly, according to personal and work commitments.
Specials are supported by dedicated teams within each force, who will encourage volunteers to put in enough hours to ensure their confidence, skills and experience grows.
We welcome applications from people from all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages, gender and sexual orientation. However, there are some eligibility conditions that all applicants will need to meet, so you need to check that you meet our requirements before submitting an application:
- Be aged 18 years or over (on the day you submit your application).
- Applicants should be British Citizens, or passport holders from a full EU Member State. You can also apply if you're a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain.
- You must have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application.
- Not be a member of the British National Party (BNP) plus other organisations such as Combat 18 or The National Front.
- If you have a criminal record, this doesn't mean you're automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any caution or conviction on your application form, failure to do so will result in you failing the vetting procedure due to integrity issues.
- If you are struggling with debt, you may still be able to apply. You just need to supply us with evidence of your ability to manage your debts successfully. However, if you have any outstanding County Court Judgements or you are an un-discharged bankrupt, then you are automatically ineligible.
- Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application.
Special Constables do not get paid as they work on a voluntary basis. You will, however, be able to claim back out of pocket expenses. In addition you will receive:
- Support and advice from our Staff Associations and Support Networks which include - Female Police Association, LGBT Network, Black Police Association, Christian Police Association, Ability Support Network, Police Federation, Unison, GMB.
- Well Being – We have an internal Occupational Health, which can assist with some injury on duty issues. In addition there is access to CARE first, the employee assist programme
- Access to subsidised gyms – throughout force area.
There are a number of stages to the application process:
Situational Judgement and Behavioural Style Questionnaire
- First step will be an electronic application process which may entail some eligibility ‘killer questions’, if you pass this stage you will be required to complete several on-line tests and/or application form.
Competency Based Interview
- This will allow the panel to gain a better understanding into your experience and skills, as well as for you to gain a further understanding into the role.
Before appointment, you’ll be required to pass:
- Fitness Test
- You will be required to meet the national standards for Officers, this involves a Shuttle run to level 5/4 (Bleep test).
- If you don’t meet the standard first time around, you can take the test again up to a maximum of three times. You will also be required to attend a pre-appointment fitness test approximately 6 weeks prior to the anticipated appointment date and you must pass this to progress your application.
- Drugs and Biometric Testing
- The drugs test will involve undergoing a questionnaire regarding any medication you may have or are taking, and a hair sample.
- Biometric Testing will involve taking of fingerprints and a DNA (mouth) swab, which will be checked against a national database.
- Vetting and References
- References are required to cover a minimum of 3 years continuous employment history. If you have not been in employment for 3 years we will look in addition to obtain education and personal references.
- Health Check Questionnaire, and Appointment
- This will include various tests, including Hearing, Vision, Audio, Spirometry, Reflexes and BMI. The Home Office sets BMI standards for officers. The current Home Office circular 59/2004 outlines this as between 18 and 30.
These pre-appointment checks can sometimes take between three and six months. Please be aware that you must attend any appointments in your own time, including your uniform fitting appointment.
- Once you have completed all pre-employment checks, you'll be allocated a place on the next available intake, and allocated a uniform fitting appointment.
If you are successful in the recruitment process you will be asked to attend a modular training programme. This will start with a period of weeks in training to learn the basics. Once you have passed the first exam you will be sworn in as a Special Constable. You will then leave training for a few weeks to perform duties alongside a mentor, completing a personal development plan as you go. This process is then repeated until you have passed all of the necessary elements required to become a Special Constable.