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Serving the community

The police

Special Police Constable

Special constables are part-time volunteer officers who have all the same powers as regular police officers.

Volunteering to be a Special gives you the chance to give something back to your community while learning new and useful life skills. You'll provide a vital link between regular police officers and the community at large and enjoy all the same powers. So, if you've got at least four hours a week to spare, why not give it a try?

Becoming a Special

Why volunteer? It may be that you want to learn more about policing, give something back to your community, learn new skills, work in a team or simply have the chance to meet a variety of new people.

To be eligible you must meet the following basic criteria:

  • be a national of a country within the European Economic Area or, if a national of a country outside the EEA, have the right to reside in this country without restrictions
  • be 18 years of age or over

It's worth remembering that specific requirements vary from force to force and it’s worth checking with the force you’d like to join.

Applications are particularly welcome from women, minority ethnic groups and the gay community. Currently around a third of specials are women and over 3% are from ethnic backgrounds. These figures are encouraging, but we’d like to do better.

Training and support

Once you have the right training and enough practical experience, you'll take on more responsibility. Some forces also have several grades within the specials, so promotion is a possibility. Your training will be extensive and includes:

  • powers of arrest
  • common crimes
  • how to prepare your evidence for court
  • self defence  
  • how to deal with awkward situations or people

What you'll be doing

Each of the 43 forces has their own special constabulary and what you'll find yourself doing is likely to vary. Unlike a Police Community Support Officer, you will have the same powers as a regular officer so you could find yourself:

  • helping in the event of accidents, fights or fires
  • road safety initiatives
  • house to house enquiries
  • foot patrol
  • helping safeguard public safety and security at local or major events
  • working in schools to talk about safety and crime
  • presenting evidence in court
  • 'hotspot' operations to tackle underage drinking, criminal damage and nuisance/public order
  • offering crime prevention advice and promoting property marketing initiatives.

Volunteer today!

If you would like to volunteer to be a Special, or would like more information, you can call us on 0845 608 3000. Or visit the Police Could You? (new window) website for more information about how to apply.

See also

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Home Office websites