We all want our community to be a safe and friendly place. We all want London to be a city we can be proud of and happy to live in. But how many of us are prepared to give up our spare time to put something back into society? That’s exactly what special constables do.
We all want our community to be a safe and friendly place. We all want London to be a city we can be proud of and happy to live in. But how many of us are prepared to give up our spare time to put something back into society? That’s exactly what special constables do. With full powers of arrest and wearing the same uniform, special constables work alongside regular police officers to reduce crime and the fear of crime across London’s 32 boroughs.
One person who volunteers every month is Special Constable Rebecca Davison. For at least 25 hours every month, she swaps her desk in Canary Wharf for patrolling some of London’s busiest, most bustling streets around Leicester Square. “I became a Special because my day job involves working for a big corporate organisation where sometimes you can end up feeling like just another number. But as a Special, I’m helping to protect the city I live in – as well as ordinary, everyday people like me.”
The Metropolitan Police Service is continually evolving and improving to respond to the needs of millions of people of all nationalities, faiths and cultures who visit, live and work in London. As one of the capital’s largest employers, we’re committed to having a workforce that reflects the community it serves. So people become Specials from all kinds of backgrounds, bringing all sorts of skills and experience to a huge diversity of policing tasks.
Dealing with thousands of people from all over the world, policing somewhere like Leicester Square is an incredibly rewarding experience. “Before training as a Special I’d have been nervous of large groups on the streets, but I’m a lot more confident now – and I’ve used this confidence in other areas of my life. Being a Special has made me realise the importance of giving clear information without waffling.”
All special constables receive regular in-depth training covering everything from Officer Safety Training to legislation. According to Rebecca there’s no substitute for experience: “One of my favourite shifts was when I’d been called to the scene of a burglary, where a woman was convinced she’d been robbed. She must have been in her late 80s or early 90s but, as it turned out, things had just been misplaced around her house. So we calmed her down and explained things to her. OK, we didn’t make a hugely visible difference but it made me feel good because it could have been someone like my nan. We made her feel comfortable and secure again in her own home. So I got a lot of satisfaction from that.”
“The great thing about being a Special is that you’re part of a large support network – there’s always help nearby if you need it. Police colleagues have seen me tired after a long shift or on a high after reacting to a potentially dangerous situation and this inevitably builds a bond between us. It feels good to be part of a team where everyone knows, and looks out for each other.”
While you won’t be paid for your time, your travelling expenses will be covered and you will receive your uniform. Most importantly, making London safer is uniquely challenging but uniquely rewarding. “I end my shift feeling a massive sense of achievement for what I’ve prevented or done. I get to deal with people who need help and, who knows, you could be in that position one day. It’s kind of like a roundabout situation; you get back what you put in.”
If you want to join Rebecca, you can find out more and apply online at www.metpolicecareers.co.uk/specials