Special Inspector Esther McLaughlin
Your latest Blog from your West Special Inspector, Esther McLaughlin, who covers the Caerphilly, Torfaen & Blaenau Gwent areas
People often ask me how Specials find the time to work as Police officers alongside their regular jobs. The dedication of my team constantly amazes me, and is a testament to the quality of volunteers we have here at Gwent Police. Some find it so rewarding that we occasionally have to remind them to go home to bed! Being a Special Constable is a job like no other, and each one of my team is highly valued in their local stations and by the force.
Our Specials can be found working at any time of day or night, with many finishing their shifts well into the early hours of the morning, and some that volunteer for full night shifts on a regular basis. An amazing commitment.
In January we have had Specials working right across the region as always, conducting anti social behaviour patrols, working with neighbourhood teams, working on response shifts and working alongside the ambulance service on our Joint Response Unit.
Thanks to SC Farrington-Cox who assisted with the football in Newport this month. We like to share resources with the Newport and Monmouthshire teams when we can. East officers can often be found up here in the West assisting with warrants and operations. You can find out more about the East Specials here.
SC Taylor has been assisting PC Ellis in Ystrad Mynach with dedicated anti social behaviour patrols. This is really valuable work that often goes under the radar.
SC Young and SC Casely were up before sunrise very early one January morning knocking on doors conducting drugs warrants in Rhymney, as seen in the picture getting their suits on. Thanks to both for volunteering to get up early for this!
As a team we are now getting more involved in the “After Dark” initiative in Caerphilly. We meet regularly with agencies like the Street Pastors, Licensing teams, Caerphilly County Borough Council, and others, and we are hoping to work more closely with them over the next few months to enhance the safety of the night time economy in Caerphilly and Blackwood town centres. You may have seen the After Dark logo lighting up Caerphilly Castle. This initiative is a brilliant example of agencies working in collaboration, and it’s great to be a part of it.
Finally, let me introduce you to Sam. I received an email this week highlighting some of the excellent work Sam is getting involved in down in Bedwas. Well done Sam! Here is an insight into life as a Special in his own words:
What do you do in normal life?
I am a student at the University of South Wales studying BSc (Hons) Police Sciences.
What do you gain from being a Special?
Being a special alongside my course reinforces everything I learn at university, and it also allows me to gain a wide range of other skills and experiences in working with people and working under pressure. Besides which it’s a great way to use my spare time positively.
What is it like working alongside regular officers?
You’re not really treated any differently and pretty much every officer I’ve worked with has been glad to have me on shift with them. It’s also great for me to learn from other officer’s experiences too.
Being a Special takes a lot of dedication. How do you find a good work life balance?
Due to most of my course being self-study, I find I am able to work specials into my week quite often. I tend to follow one shift and this allows me to plan ahead when I will come in and when to take a break. As a special the minimum requirement is 16 hours a month, but I find sometimes I will double that without any issue.
Do you enjoy your role?
I have loved every minute of it. It’s exciting and terrifying and everything I wanted from it and more. The people I’ve worked with are great, the training was fun and despite some of the difficult things I’ve dealt with, I’ve not had a moment where I didn’t want to continue. I’m now planning to join the regulars as soon as I graduate.
It’s great to have Sam on our team. He is also assisting with the Gwent Police Cadets. Thanks for all you do Sam.
Citizens in Policing is growing across the country, as more and more people sign up to volunteer in their local police forces in a variety of roles. If you want to find out more, have a look at their national website here.
My previous Blog entries can be found here
For daily updates, follow my team on Twitter @gpspecials
S/Inspector Esther McLaughlin