Northumbria Police is challenging you to become someone special.
This weekend (April 5/6) is National Special Constable Weekend and the force is appealing for members of the public to come forward and volunteer to sign up.
Nationwide there are around 20,000 Specials serving with police forces, with 318 in the Northumbria area.
Specials are trained volunteers who work with their local 24/7 officers and Neighbourhood Policing Teams.
They are based in area commands across the force and work alongside regular police officer colleagues and when fully trained they have all the same powers as a police officer when in uniform and on duty.
Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth said: “Special Constables are a key part of the makeup of Northumbria Police and the force really benefits from the range of life experiences that Special Constables bring.
“Specials come to us from all walks of life and we would encourage people from all communities to join the policing family so our volunteer recruits fully represent the people they serve.
“These benefits are passed on to the communities we serve and Specials are a vital part of the force.”
Recruits to the Special Constabulary come from all walks of life and current serving Specials’ professions include: being in full and part time education, hotel management, Human Resources, sales assistants, graphic designers, dentists, lifeguards, delivery drivers, teachers, IT workers, Civil Servants and taxi drivers.
Some run their own businesses and others are full time carers for their family.
Northumbria Police is actively seeking to recruit more specials from all across the whole of the force area - from Berwick to Birtley, Seaburn to Haltwhistle.
No matter where someone lives, or is based, the force can offer opportunities to those wanting to volunteer.
The force is currently looking at diversifying the types of roles that Specials can support officers with. Recently groups of specials have become involved with mentoring Police Cadets and have received training in carrying out specialist police searches. Chief Supt Blyth added: “Volunteering your time as a Special Constable helps people develop both personally and professionally. Recruits learn new skills, including improved communication and decision making abilities.
“I’ve seen people really develop their personal confidence while doing this voluntary worthwhile role. Many of the skills our officers acquire are easily transferable into their existing day-time jobs and help them to progress in their chosen careers.
“Volunteer officers say that being a Special Constable gives them the opportunity to give something back to the community and to make a real difference.”
Applicants should be 18 or over and while there is no upper age limit applicants need to have a have a good level of fitness and this is tested during the selection process.
Special Constables are recruited in line with national guidance and this includes comprehensive vetting and a medical.
All Special Constables receive an in-depth initial training, (currently delivered at our Ponteland HQ over a period of six weekends) followed by refresher training. They also get a uniform, equipment and receive out of pocket expenses for travel.
Specials work a minimum of 16 hours a month, but many choose to work much more, because they enjoy it. Initially they patrol with an experienced officer but when they’ve completed their probationary period, which takes between six and 18 months, depending on how much time the student officer spends on duty, then they can patrol alone.
Anyone interested in becoming a Special Constable can visit http://www.northumbria.police.uk/specials where you can apply on line or telephone 101 ext 64111 for information about how to submit an application.