Praise for Specials’ contribution to policing

Dyfed Powys Police Federation chair Gareth Jones has praised the contribution of Special Constables.

Gareth said Specials offer “real-world experience and skills” that make a difference to policing.

Gareth said: “Special Constables come from all backgrounds and all walks of life. They’re committed to serving the public and bring real-world experience and skills that are invaluable to policing.

“It can be a challenging role, but also one that’s extremely satisfying and rewarding.

“We’re proud to be able to welcome them as Police Federation members. They face the same dangers and their contribution to public safety is appreciated by all of us – it’s only right they should have access to the same support and representation as regular officers.”

It’s almost nine months since Special Constables were allowed to join the Police Federation.

Federation Welsh affairs and Specials lead Nicky Ryan described them as an “amazing asset” to policing and said the key roles they play should be properly acknowledged.

Speaking on TalkTV as part of the channel’s Police Week, Nicky said she did not feel the value of Specials was always fully appreciated. 

Nicky said: “We need to acknowledge that day in, day out there are Special Constables up and down the country that are carrying out frontline duties, detective roles, fighting cybercrime, roads policing - they cover the whole range of duties.

“The skills that policing gets from them can’t be quantified. They are an amazing asset. We have career Specials with 25 or 30 years’ service and they have so much knowledge and experience.” 

Nicky Ryan described Specials as an 'amazing asset' to policing

Nicky said some people joined the Special Constabulary as a route into a career in policing while others chose to sign up because they wanted to serve their community.

She said several current chief constables and senior officers had begun their policing careers as Specials.

“We have 7,401 Special Constables in England and Wales and last year they volunteered more than 2.5 million hours to policing which equates to just over £61.5 million,” Nicky explained.

“Special Constables can, and do, perform most of the same duties as their paid colleagues.

“They wear the same uniform, they have the same policing powers and they are expected to perform to the same high standards - performance wise and ethics wise - as paid officers. The only difference is they are volunteers.”

Nicky said Specials were not paid but were reimbursed for any expenses and often volunteered through a strong sense of community and commitment. 

“We have all sorts of people, airline pilots, young mums, students - we have a whole range of people from different backgrounds,” she said.

“People do it for a variety of different reasons and we get to utilise their skills and they learn new skills from policing.

“There are all sorts of areas of policing that are opening up to Specials because we now acknowledge the skills and depth of experience that they have.

“We have people from the banking sector, people from the cyber world with a range of skills that far surpasses what we have in policing.”

The Special Constabulary dates as far back as 1831 but Specials were only allowed to join the Police Federation in July.