Why these Specials must always rock on
MY TGI Friday night out proved to be something very special.
My date with The Specials didn’t involve boogying Seventies-style to Coventry’s famous ska band and there was definitely no evidence of their number one hit The Ghost Town about the midnight sortie.
I was on the other side of the dance floor from today’s movers and shakers, learning all about key role real-life Special Constables play in Staffordshire communities.
As deputy police and crime commissioner I joined a Specials’ shift on Friday night in Tamworth town centre and stayed with them into the early hours of the morning.
Special Constables make a massive contribution to society and provide a crucial additional link between the police and local communities.
I was out with them on a busy Friday evening to find out about the challenges they face in supporting regular officers and how we can support and develop the valuable Specials’ role.
After a briefing at Tamworth police station, I joined Specials as they dealt with a variety of matters – ranging from checking licensed venues, looking for a missing woman, carrying out drug searches – to that inevitable night club visit.
The presence of Specials out and about certainly reassured people and emphasised how valued they are by local communities.
I was really impressed with their professionalism and the time I spent with them was invaluable in informing the plans and strategies that we have in place for Specials.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner in Staffordshire has pledged to develop the service by recruiting 200 new ‘Community Special Constables’ who are dedicated to policing the communities where they live.
We want to ensure that Special Constables are equipped on an equal basis with their regular colleagues to serve local communities better.
The Office intends to supplement regular officers with elite volunteers who are highly skilled. By further increasing training in specific areas we need to make sure that the commitment given by volunteers is matched by the job satisfaction that being part of a more professional and elite service will create.
My fact-finding mission on Friday night will feed into this ongoing work to develop the role of Specials in Staffordshire.
There are currently over 450 Specials who serve across the county and the city of Stoke-on-Trent.
After receiving full training, they can now serve in a variety of specialist roles including roads policing, licensing, dealing with rural and wildlife crime and football policing.
For more information visit www.staffordshire.police.uk/careers/specials/