Special Inspector Esther McLaughlin
Your latest Blog from your West Special Inspector, Esther McLaughlin, who covers the Caerphilly, Torfaen & Blaenau Gwent areas
It was a very busy end to February / start to March with emergency services put to the test following heavy snowfall. I'd like to say a big thank you to the special constables who volunteered extra time, some walking to their local station to assist with the demand, and others using their own vehicles to get colleagues into work.
All over the country we saw outstanding examples of positive work by volunteers to assist their local communities during difficult conditions. We are a nation of volunteers, and I was inspired by the sheer number of members of the public who assisted, and the community spirit shown. People with 4x4s and shovels took it upon themselves to look after those around them and helped to keep the country running. If this was you and you think you would like to get more involved with voluntary work, please keep an eye out for our recruitment drive coming later this year - you might be just what we are looking for!
Last month I met with each member of my team and asked them to tell me about a recent incident they felt they had dealt with well. They are a humble bunch who don't like to boast about their work, but I have been really impressed with the answers to this question. They have dealt with a wide range of incidents including road traffic collisions, sudden deaths, families in crisis, domestic violence, high profile arrests, complex mental health calls, life threatening injuries, volatile situations, violent offenders and more. Each one of them worked with professionalism and skill; utilising police training along with life skills to competently deal with these challenging situations. They voluntarily do this kind of work week after week, and then go back work in their regular jobs the next day. They really are an extraordinary group of people.
SC Young and I assisted with an immigration operation this month visiting car washes in the Caerphilly Borough. This was a successful multi-agency operation working with the Home Office to target modern slavery and human trafficking. Tackling this issue is a high priority for Gwent Police and a dedicated Human Trafficking team is now in place to focus solely on this work.
Recruitment for Gwent Police Cadets is now open. If you are between the ages of 13 and 18 and you are interested in the Police, then this is a brilliant scheme to join. Many of our Specials and PCs were once cadets, and gained so much from the experience. The cadets run an excellent program of activities and training, and it is great to see young people grow and develop new skills.
Finally, let me introduce you to recently promoted Special Sergeant Gareth Noyes to give you an insight into life as a Special. Gareth has moved over to my team following his promotion, and brings with him a lot of useful skills and experience. Welcome to the West Gareth!
Gareth, why did you join the Specials?
I was first made aware of the Specials by an old colleague who was coming to the end of his training. I looked into it and it really appealed to me as I had always wanted to join the police. I love the fact I get to help people and play an active role in the community.
What is your day job?
I work for Gwent Police in the Corporate Communications Department as a Digital and Design Officer. I am responsible for designing and maintaining all the campaign and engagement materials, social media artwork, and the Force website and Intranet. I also carry out some photography and filming as required and get involved in various projects and campaigns.
What do you gain from being a Special?
I have learned a massive amount since being a Special Constable; about the law, policing and life in general. My fitness and health have improved and I have met some great people in Gwent Police. I have grown in confidence and developed new skills I can apply in my day job.
What is it like working alongside regular officers?
The regular officers I have worked with have been nothing but welcoming, friendly and eager to teach me. Officers are genuinely pleased to see specials and have their company and assistance on calls and enquiries.
Being a Special takes a lot of dedication. How do you find a good work/ life balance?
The commitment to being a Special is a big one but I feel I have achieved a good balance. Working for Gwent Police in my day job means I get a good dose of police life but it also allows me to integrate and fit in shifts more effectively than if I was removed from the organisation.
Do you enjoy your role?
I very much enjoy my role, it's completely different to anything else and I have learnt so much whilst being in the Special Constabulary with Gwent. I have made friends for life and helped people in need.
Gareth will be assisting me in managing our team of Specials in the West, and I am really grateful to him for stepping up and taking on the challenge.
My previous Blog entries can be found here.
Keep up to date with Specials news by following us on Twitter: @gpspecials
To find out more about Citizens in Policing nationally, please visit here.
For daily updates, follow my team on Twitter @gpspecials
S/Inspector Esther McLaughlin