Special constable opportunities with Kent Police

Sponsored Editorial Volunteering is an incredible thing to do. It offers vital support for worthy causes, people in need and the wider community.

What's more, it's a great way to build relationships and develop new skills. Did you know that you can volunteer with the police? Kent Police is encouraging people from all backgrounds to discover and embark on an exciting role as a special constable.

Do you think you've got what it takes to be a special constable? Do you think you've got what it takes to be a special constable?

From tackling anti-social behaviour and carrying out road safety initiatives to conducting house-to-house enquiries and responding to 999 calls, special constables work across a range of policing areas.

You'll wear the same uniform, carry the same equipment and hold the same power of arrest as regular police officers. Kent Police special constables[1] receive the very best training and support. A minimum of 16 hours of operational policing needs to be completed each month and you can volunteer at times that fit around your life and commitments.

So, what does the role entail and what are the benefits?

To find out, we caught up with three dedicated special constables working across the Kent region.

Despite deciding to follow a career in business whilst at university, Nick Lander's interest in policing - particularly roads policing - never left him. Despite deciding to follow a career in business whilst at university, Nick Lander's interest in policing - particularly roads policing - never left him.

Nick Lander As a chartered accountant, I've been investing in and turning around businesses for the last 20 years or so. I'm a petrolhead with a strong interest in road safety - both in cars and motorcycles.

I originally hail from Scotland but have lived in Kent for more than 30 years. My two children are now grown up and I'm therefore able to spend more time on volunteering activities. When I was at university, I had considered joining the police but decided to follow a career in business.

I've got no regrets about that, but my interest in policing - particularly roads policing - has never left me. Whilst I'd like to say my joining motivations were solely about helping others, they weren't. It was also about seeing another side of life and learning skills that are unique to policing, which would benefit me both mentally and physically.

I guess I was a bit apprehensive because there are various assessments on the journey to becoming a special constable.

However, the training is good and the support from other specials really helps. You're not treading an unknown path.

Fitness is fairly important. There's an annual fitness test but that's not a bad thing for any of us! If you're thinking about becoming a special constable, be clear about your reasons for joining.

Some people join as a gateway to becoming a regular officer and others, like me, are "career specials", who don't want a paid policing role. For those who want to continue as specials, there's the opportunity to focus your time on the areas that matter to you and your communities. Yes, we do have to support regular colleagues in times of need, but we are able to make a societal difference by operating alongside and distinctly from our regular colleagues.

We have the time to engage with communities in a high-profile way and hopefully deter, not simply react to crime.

James Johnston: I would certainly recommend this voluntary role to anyone who enjoys giving back, working in a team and supporting their community. James Johnston: I would certainly recommend this voluntary role to anyone who enjoys giving back, working in a team and supporting their community.

James Johnston I've lived in Thanet my entire life, observing my community grow and change over the years. I will always consider Thanet as home, with it offering some of the most idyllic and beautiful beaches in the UK.

My career is also based in Thanet. I own an events business, which offers services for all weddings, celebrations and events across Kent. I love what I do - especially when I work with couples, planning their big day, seeing it through and waving them goodbye at the end of their wedding.

Throughout my entire adult life, I've always spent a portion of my free time volunteering. I feel I get a lot out of life and volunteering is my way of giving back to the community. One evening, in the summer of 2019, I made a decision that would change my volunteering pathway.

I filled out an application to become a special constable for Kent Police. After a few forms, phone calls and an interview, I got the start date for my weekend training program. I've never looked back since.

I can honestly say that standing in front of a magistrate at the end of the training program being sworn into the office of constable and becoming a police officer was one of the proudest moments of my life. I will cherish it forever. Being a special constable has truly been an honour.

I've lost count of the number of times being out in my community volunteering on duty has impacted, changed and even saved the lives of members of the public. I turn up to 999 calls in a full police uniform, making decisions in an ever-changing environment - always putting victims first. Some calls we attend can be incredibly challenging, testing each and every aspect of the fantastic training Kent Police provides.

There is always support from regular colleagues, police staff and certainly not forgetting my colleagues in the special constabulary. If I were to share with you all of my highlights from duties, I would need to write a book. Assisting our ambulance colleagues in delivering a baby and holding it seconds after it was born, conducting an area search and finding a vulnerable missing person and arresting an outstanding suspect for GBH and false imprisonment would be to name a few.

I would certainly recommend this voluntary role to anyone who enjoys giving back, working in a team and supporting their community. Since joining Kent Police, I've made friends for life and developed skills and experiences that will be with me forever. At the end of every shift, I always walk back to my car feeling humbled and proud that I have served the community where I live.

Outside of the special constabulary, Leslie Gunasekara works for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) but specifically Defence Science and Technology Laboratory as a project manager. Outside of the special constabulary, Leslie Gunasekara works for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) but specifically Defence Science and Technology Laboratory as a project manager.

Les Gunasekara

I joined Kent Police in February 2021. Outside of the special constabulary, I work for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) but specifically Defence Science and Technology Laboratory as a project manager. The main part of my role is delivering projects of cutting-edge science and technology for the benefit of the nation and allies.

When I'm not working or policing, I'm a Foundation Trust governor for my daughters' secondary school, Dartford Science and Technology College (DSTC). I've always wanted to volunteer but never had the opportunity due to work and family life being so busy. Like many, during Covid, I had the opportunity to fulfil my dream of volunteering and started off being a governor of DSTC.

This then led to the role of an NHS volunteer responder as part of the drive by the government to support the NHS during the height of the pandemic.

From tackling anti-social behaviour and carrying out road safety initiatives to conducting house-to-house enquiries and responding to 999 calls, special constables work across a range of policing areas. From tackling anti-social behaviour and carrying out road safety initiatives to conducting house-to-house enquiries and responding to 999 calls, special constables work across a range of policing areas.

As the nation started emerging out of Covid and the requirement for responders started dropping off, I decided that I wanted a long-term volunteer role that would provide a challenge but the reward of helping others, as well as doing what's right. Kent Police has - and still is - providing this. I mainly work on response for the local policing team.

Every shift is extremely busy and provides an abundance of challenges as inevitably you have no idea what you are attending or walking into, which I do thrive on and enjoy. My main interests are in protecting the vulnerable and helping those who cannot help themselves. I also take a keen interest in working in custody.

Being a special constable is a significant commitment - one to take seriously and to remember that we are there to support the regulars in a professional capacity. Where specials treat the role as a job, which it is, they become an integral part of the policing team and take huge satisfaction from contributing and doing good.

Kent Police is encouraging people from all backgrounds to discover and embark on an exciting role as a special constable. Kent Police is encouraging people from all backgrounds to discover and embark on an exciting role as a special constable.

One phrase I heard from the chief inspector of North Kent was: "You get out what you put in". Nothing rings truer.

It's why I've learnt and got so much out of policing in such a short period of time. Also, the rewards and great sense that you have made a significant difference put a smile on your face every day. Do you think you've got what it takes to be a special constable?

Visit www.kent.police.uk/specials[2] to find out more about the role and start the application process.

References

  1. ^ Kent Police special constables (www.kent.police.uk)
  2. ^ www.kent.police.uk/specials (www.kent.police.uk)