More Police Officers making your street safer

Northamptonshire Police Force has 1,220 full-time paid Police Officers. The Police and Crime Commissioner, Adam Simmonds, has promised to maintain this level of Police Officers throughout his first term in office - making Northamptonshire one of only four Police Force’s in England and Wales who are not making cuts to Police Officer numbers.

Visible policing remains one of the highest priorities for the people of Northamptonshire. This is a significant challenge with the continued pressure on public spending, including further scheduled cuts to Police budgets. Therefore drawing on our county’s proud tradition of volunteering, we aim to enhance the incredible work of our 1,220 Police Officers by putting 900 additional volunteer Special Constables on to our streets to make them even safer.

Increasing the Special Constabulary to 900 officers means 900 extra warranted Police Officers in our communities, on our streets and on the frontline - it will also mean Northamptonshire has the largest Special Constabulary anywhere nationally outside of London.

What are
Special Constables?

A Special Constable is a part-time, voluntary Police Officer, with the same uniform and powers as a regular, full-time officer, including the power of arrest. They work alongside fulltime officers conducting a wide range of duties. Whilst on duty, you would not know a Special Constable from a regular Constable.

Special Constables
Are Specials different from PCSOs
(Police Community Support Officers)?

Yes. PCSOs are salaried uniformed civilian members of Police support staff who are employed to work alongside Police Officers to be a visible, uniformed presence. They currently undertake some Officer tasks, freeing them up to concentrate on more serious crimes and investigation.

Duties vary day-by-day. They can include: responding to incidents; foot patrols; tackling anti-social behaviour; assisting on operations; house-to-house enquiries; providing security at events; engaging with local communities and much more.

Special Constables receive high quality training to ensure they are equipped and have all of the necessary skills to perform their duties.

We ask our Special Constables to perform a minimum of 200 hours per year; that’s 16 hours per month; or just 4 hours per week. Given that Special Constables give up their time to come and work for Northants Police, we are very flexible in terms of how duty hours are undertaken.

There is no limit on how many duty hours a Special Constable can undertake; indeed, many of our Special Constables enjoy their duties so much that they do well in excess of the minimum!

What does a Special Constable do?

Duties vary day-by-day. They can include: responding to incidents; foot patrols; tackling anti-social behaviour; assisting on operations; house-to-house enquiries; providing security at events; engaging with local communities and much more.

Special Constables receive high quality training to ensure they are equipped and have all of the necessary skills to perform their duties.

We ask our Special Constables to perform a minimum of 200 hours per year; that’s 16 hours per month; or just 4hours per week. Given that Special Constables give up their time to come and work for Northants Police, we are very flexible in terms of how duty hours are undertaken.

There is no limit on how many duty hours a Special Constable can undertake; indeed, many of our Special Constables enjoy their duties so much that they do well in excess of the minimum!

Police On Duty 200 hours per year
Special Constables come from all walks of life and join up for various different reasons.

They include…

  • Giving back to their community;
  • An exciting, dynamic opportunity;
  • A progressive, career-voluntary opportunity;
  • Joining the ‘Police family’;
  • Challenging yourself;
  • Professional development;
  • Personal development;
  • Meeting new people

Are there different types of Specials?

Yes, the Parish Special Constable and the general duties Special Constable.

Parish Special Constable

A Parish Special Constable is a Special Constable who, through choice, is dedicated to policing a specific area or Parish and this can even be their own area of residence, allowing them to utilise their own local knowledge and expertise.

The Parish Special Constable role was devised to specifically address the concerns and problems which residents tell us are blighting their communities. This means that issues such as metal theft, fly-tipping, speeding and hare coursing can now be robustly and sustainably prevented and policed by a locally dedicated resource.

This exciting new role gives people the chance to use their passion and experiences to protect their own rural community. Parish Special Constables are dedicated to policing an area of their choice and are part of the local Safer Community Team. They will work with local town/parish councils, community groups and local people to identify and resolve the issues that matter most to the local community. Parish Special Constables patrol the area in uniform, speaking to people, providing prevention advice and reassurance and discouraging crime and anti-social behaviour.

The role is very much focused upon becoming the long-term, well-known and highly visible patrol and problem-solving personal presence in the local village/town and surrounding area in which they serve.

Duties include:

  • High visibility patrols in uniform, predominantly on foot;
  • Visible uniformed engagement in the community, e.g. community events and groups;
  • Community-based problem solving – building capacity in communities to help themselves;
  • Be the known ‘go to ‘ point for local community issues, providing a clear link between the communities and the Police with a ‘foot in both camps’;
  • Providing reassurance and a deterrent to crime and anti-social behaviour;
  • Providing crime prevention advice;
  • Engaging with parish councils, community groups and the wider communities to understand issues that matter to those communities and building effective locally-based partnerships. This will include listening and hearing the less often heard individuals and groups within locations;
  • Work with other partners in the parish, for example fostering and developing relationships with the local school and community groups;
  • ( When appropriately trained in this specific skill ) utilising restorative practice techniques to solve low level issues before they escalate to become more major issues;
  • Work with other Police and community safety volunteers within the area, for example with Community Speedwatch or with Neighbourhood Watch (and where appropriate enhance the teeth of these community initiatives with the useful enforcement powers a warranted officer would bring);
  • Intelligence gathering;
  • Traffic control, parking issues and public nuisance issues – meaning a parish constable will utilise fixed penalties and other relevant powers conferred on a warranted officer as appropriate;
  • Supporting frontline officers with tasks and duties in the area as appropriate – particularly those of a regular nature.

This is a role which will likely suit a different and a broader range of people than the more traditional role of ‘General Duties Special Constable’. The role tends to focus more on qualities of communication and engagement, mature judgement and problem-solving. It will on the whole tend to be less ‘physical’ and to be engaged in less demanding operational contexts than traditional Specials.

General Duties Special Constable

This is the traditional role that people normally associate with Special Constables. Duties are varied and can include making arrests; attending emergency incidents; patrols; tackling anti-social behaviour; enforcing road safety; policing town centres; conducting house-to-house inquiries; and assisting at major events.

How to apply to become a Special and what’s involved?

Our application process has recently been improved, meaning it’s quicker and slicker than ever. In brief the application process involves completing a very short online application form; a telephone interview and attending an assessment centre morning which includes a test of your fitness. Applicants must also be medically fit and pass our drugs test and vetting procedures. Training too has been improved to include a flexible mixture of online and practical modules which equips Special Constables with all the skills and knowledge they require over the course of 11 weekends.

While Specials are not paid, mileage and subsistence costs (on shifts) are covered.

Want help finding a Parish Special Constable for your rural community?

The ambition over time is to have a Parish Special Constable in each and every village.

We would like to help you find a Parish Special constable for your village by inviting you to invite us to carry out a ‘knock and drop’ event. Knock and drops involve every house in a community being visited by PCSOs, Special Constables and other volunteers. We invite residents to attend a locally-held recruitment event, usually on the forthcoming Saturday at a venue such as the local pub or village hall. These events provide residents the opportunity to learn more about the role of Special Constables and how to apply, but also allows them to raise any wider policing concerns they may have locally.

Download the Rural action leaflet arrow down Become a Special Constable Leaflet

Want to find out more about Special Constables or apply to join?

Our application process to become a Special Constable in Northamptonshire is the most streamlined nationally.

Special Constables Website

There really has never been a better time to come and join us as a Special Constable!

arrows
Other volunteer roles?

Street Watch scheme accordion

Street Watch is a Police initiative involving local residents working together to actively patrol the streets within their area to provide a visible presence.

Members patrol their community in high visibility, Police-logoed tabards in pairs or more, for periods which suit them.

Street Watch is about good citizenship, talking to your neighbours, providing reassurance and community safety advice in your area, whilst supporting and promoting good community values.

Neighbourhood Watch scheme accordion

Neighbourhood Watch is an independent, voluntary network in which neighbours come together, along with the Police and local partners, to build safe and friendly communities.

Members keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity to the Police, who can then take action. Watch members aren’t have-a-go heroes, and they’re not intended to be. They have a role, and leave addressing suspicious behaviour to the Police.

Neighbourhood Watch aims to help people protect their properties, themselves and their communities and to reduce the fear of crime by means of improved home security, greater vigilance, accurate reporting of suspicious incidents to the Police and by encouraging community spirit.

Mounted Volunteers on Horseback scheme accordion

Mounted volunteers on Horseback scheme is a Police initiative aimed predominantly at providing a highly visible presence, particularly within rural communities.

Members wear a high visibility, Police logoed tabard when out riding their horse, providing a powerful visible presence.

The scheme allows members to gather intelligence that may otherwise not be accessible to Streetwatch members and their visible presence helps to deter dangerous driving behaviours and promote a safer driving culture, particularly in rural areas.

My aim is to make Northamptonshire the safest place in England, and to do this we need to recognise and understand the differing needs and challenges of our significant rural communities, with almost a third of Northamptonshire's population living in and around rural towns. Not only are we making rural crime a priority, we also want to work in partnership with other agencies, local communities and Parish Councils to ensure that we are delivering exceptional service to those in rural areas. "

Adam Simmonds Police and Crime
Commissioner

Northants Police Commissioner
Get Involved
required

Required field