‘The future will be very special as this force for good can testify’
For the first time the county’s 478-strong force of Special Constables are being trained in more “specialist roles” – such as wildlife policing, licensing, Integrated Offender Management, roads policing, public order, intelligence and as detectives.
As deputy police and crime commissioner, I joined PCC Matthew Ellis and assistant chief constable Bernie O’Reilly in presenting accreditation certificates to 29 Specials who have completed the exclusive training.
The awards went out to nine Community Specials, who are embedded in neighbourhood policing teams, plus Specials who work on licensing teams in Lichfield, Tamworth, Cannock Chase, East Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
Specials in detection, Integrated Offender Management Special, wildlife and rural crime plus those trained with the Central Motorways Policing Group also picked up accreditation.
Now the future of Staffordshire policing will see longer and more comprehensive training for existing and new officers in the Special Constabulary.
They’ll have better equipment, more chances to widen the policing activities they are involved with and there’s also an ambition for their work as Specials to add value to their opportunities of career progression externally.
The new approach is aimed at developing the Special Constabulary further and is believed to be the most ambitious in the country, strongly underpinning even better their role in supporting full-time regular police officers in Staffordshire.
This awards night is an extraordinary celebration of the work done by the Special Constabulary for communities across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to their commitment. The Specials are The Force For Good and The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner realises how much is owed to so few – by so many.
The Chief Constable and his team have done a tremendous job developing the plans, including new ‘very local’ Community Specials. It puts Staffordshire’s Special Constabulary in a brilliant and exciting position for the future.
The OPCC is determined to create a new order where 200 Special Community Officers (SCOs) will be a policing model which retains the role of Neighbourhood Officers, while recognising the need for a broader range of staff to be involved and trained in problem-solving.
The Specials 200 will be taken from within the ranks – in a scheme designed to increase visibility of policing while at the same time looking after the communities they live in rather than other parts of the wider area.
This will provide local reassurance because the officers know the local community and the local community knows them. It would also be in addition to a community’s local police officers. By investing in this extra new resource, the challenges of large sparsely populated communities can be addressed.
At the OPCC we realise that one size doesn’t fit all, so we’ll ensure there are local solutions for local people. Policing, community safety and the wider criminal justice system must reflect the needs and circumstances of each local area.
Chief constable Mike Cunningham said: “Those who give their time to be members of the Staffordshire Police Special Constabulary are incredible people who play a key role in keeping our communities safe.
“Special Constables are police officers, they have the same powers, and they work alongside regular police officers to tackle crime and support our communities.
“Our Special Constabulary colleagues undertake a myriad of activity and roles as they work alongside regular officers and staff to help us keep communities safe and reassured.
“They can also undertake a number of key specialist roles and these awards recognise the amazing dedication and commitment of the volunteer officers and the contribution they make to our communities.
“Our Specials are a key part of the policing family and I am proud of these very special people who do this important work.”
For more details on joining, visit www.StaffsSpecials.org