By Robert Downes, FSB Development Manager
So most people know what a Special Constable is, right?
But did you know this:
• Specials work for nothing
• Specials have the same powers as regular officers
• Specials must serve a minimum of 16 hours a month
• Specials have the same training as regular officers
Being frank, it seems that to be a Special, you have to be pretty special to start with. But it’s no easy task to find them thesedays, and that’s why police forces up and down the country are now looking to employers for help. As you might expect, at present it’s mostly medium or large firms that offer this to staff as part of their CSR commitments, but police forces like GMP would like smaller firms to also consider this as an option, and so they are now engaging with organisations such as FSB to get the word out.
They call this Employer Supported Policing, but what it’s more about, in essence, is you, as employers, granting employees a small amount of paid leave every month.
I hear you laugh. What’s in it for me, you’re thinking?
Well, according to the police, employees who volunteer as Specials are happier in their main employment, and stats show they are actually more likely to stay longer with the same employer.
In fact, many of the skills learned on the rigouress Special training course – which don’t forget is the same as regular cops’ - translate well for the workplace too. So think leadership skills, increased confidence, conflict resolution and negotiation skills, first aid training, they have to be fit and healthy, and what’s more, you’ll always have your own ‘bobby’ working under your roof, which might come in useful.
So, while you now know a bit more about Specials, did you know there were other volunteer positions within the police? These are for people who’d like to volunteer for the police, but who wouldn’t want to be on active frontline duty.
These are called Local Police Volunteers, and if you’re thinking admin and filing paperwork, guess again. These are positions now ranging from cyber security specialists, to community fraud prevention officers, to interpreters, to 999 call handlers – and a raft of other back office functions that complement a modern police force.
These volunteers have to commit to four hours a week minimum, but the age limit is only 16 to join, which means young adults fresh into the workplace can volunteer and this, say Police, is a great way for youngsters new to the world of work to pick up new skills and confidence.
At the moment the scheme is badly under-represented by small businesses, and Forces are trying to promote the benefits that police volunteering can have for employees.
If you would like more information about the any of the above, you can contact the Employer Supported Policing team’s Tina Shelton, using [email protected]