Tesco employee Tim Everett takes us into the varied, challenging and rewarding role of the Special constable.
I love being a Special. It is an experience like no other. It can be testing, stressful and even heart-wrenching at times but it can lead you to develop a new side of yourself – perhaps one you never knew you were capable of. It has also helped me develop confidence and skills that I regularly use elsewhere in my life.
I have been a Special constable for around two years now and it is something that I manage fit around my full-time job in a supermarket. For me, joining the specials was getting to know what the role of the police is and what they do on a day-to-day basis. Over the past two years I’ve seen all sorts of things, including violent crime and thefts, sexual assaults, domestic abuse, missing persons and people with mental health issues, burglaries and traffic offences. I’ve seen a lot, but am yet to see it all. This has given me a greater insight into what goes unseen in my community.
One incident that stands out in my mind was when a colleague and I were trying to find a teenage boy in a park in the middle of the night. His mother had called in to say that he had gone missing, had had suicidal thoughts and made threats to end his own life. We happened to be very close by and looked for the boy in a wooded area. Whilst searching and being joined by others, another colleague spotted him and we all sprinted towards him. He had managed to tie a belt around his neck and looped the other end around the tree and was about to jump off the bench he was standing on. The first colleague to get to him supported his weight from the bottom so he couldn’t jump and, as I was the second officer to get to him, I climbed up and cut the noose off from the tree. The whole incident was over in a flash and I was relieved we got to him in time. Afterwards I waited with the teenage boy while his mother and an ambulance had been called. He appeared to be very depressed and didn’t want to say anything. I tried to strike up a conversation with him and at first he wasn’t very responsive but in the end with the help of one of the paramedics we got him talking. The teenager went with me and his mother in the ambulance to the local mental health hospital where he could get the appropriate assessment and help that he required.
More recently I have been assigned the role of Parish Special Constable – a new role for the village of Gamlingay. So far it has involved getting to know the area, the people, the issues they may have and attending parish council meetings.
A typical day for me involves going to work early, having a shorter work day, going to the police station to get kitted up and head over to Gamlingay. I go out on foot patrol around the village and might stop to have chat with villagers. Some will pass on concerns or information about suspicious behaviour or offences being committed. I patrol some of the known anti-social behaviour spots and also carry out some speed checks at locations where accidents or excessive speed occurs. Other times there may be a specific event that the residents have asked me to attend like a fete, funeral or large gathering. It is a nice and positive experience speaking with people who are happy to see and speak to the police.
For more on becoming a Special, see HERE