MEMBERS of the Dorset Special Constabulary have worked more than 5,800 hours to support frontline policing during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Dorset’s army of 126 Special Constables have been out in force across local communities to give support to regular officers and play their part in making our communities safe and secure.
Since lockdown was first introduced on March 23, Dorset specials worked 5,837 hours – an increase of 42 per cent from the same period in 2019.
This week marked a National Specials Day to thank and celebrate support from special constabularies all over the country during the COVID-19 crisis. Without the Special Constabulary, Dorset Police could not provide the service it does.
Special Constables give up their free time to help tackle crime in their local area by supporting regular officers out on patrol and engaging with the community. They have the same powers in law as regular police officers.
Some Special Constables in Dorset, who have been furloughed or made redundant from their day jobs, are volunteering more than 60 hours a month to support their full-time colleagues.
They have been a vital resource as the force continues to respond to incidents and crime, while some officers and staff self-isolating. By volunteering additional hours, these individuals are helping to keep the frontline supported and running to its normally high standards.
Deputy Chief Officer Andy Turtle said: “I am immensely proud to be a part of Dorset Police’s Special Constabulary. It is brilliant to see so many colleagues volunteering more time to support their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some colleagues have been furloughed and others are making additional time to come in and support regular colleagues and add resilience.
“I want to say thank you to each Special Constable for their hard work during this national crisis, it has been remarkable, thank you.”
Chief Constable James Vaughan added: “The Dorset Special Constabulary is integral to the delivery of service to the communities Dorset Police serve.
“With the current national crisis it highlights once more the public-spirited and professional approach of colleagues within the Special Constabulary. Without them, we would be a far lesser organisation.”
Understanding and supportive employers are critical to the role of specials. The Employer Supported Policing Scheme (ESP) is an agreement between Dorset Police and the Special Constable’s employer to release them for a certain number days a year to allow them to volunteer. Without employers allowing for this, Special Constables could not exist.
In April 2020 Dorset Police held its first ever remote virtual attestation ceremony for Special Constables – getting specials sworn in despite the challenges of social distancing and COVID-19.
Sergeant Dave Moore said: “The training team had to think about how the ceremony could go ahead, taking into account the social distancing rules, as well as the Magistrate Callum Bremner not being able to attend in person.”
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, added: “Special Constables provide an important contribution to policing and the role they play, although sadly often overlooked, has proven essential throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“Their dedication has been vital over the last few weeks and we should all take a moment to thank these brave individuals who give so much.”
During the outbreak other volunteers from Dorset Police has been helping to support communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 (coronavirus). With more than 70 volunteers across the force area, they are helping to supply basic needs to those who need it most in the community.
If you are interested in a role as a Special Constable, visit the Dorset Police recruitment site for further information – www.dorset.police.uk/specials