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New chief at the helm for Warwickshire Special Constabulary

Warwickshire Special Constabulary has a new chief at the helm following the appointment of Katherine Hancock as their new temporary Chief Officer.

Katherine, who steps up from the Deputy Chief Officer role, has taken over from Graham Bell who has retired, and will lead the force until a permanent Chief Officer is appointed later this year.

Graham has been a Special Constable for 27 years, six with Greater Manchester Police and 21 years with Warwickshire Police. 

Martin Jelley, Chief Constable of Warwickshire Constabulary, said: "I am delighted that Katherine has taken over from Graham as the temporary Chief Officer lead for Warwickshire Special Constabulary. She brings a wealth of experience and strong leadership skills to the role.  

"I also want to thank Graham for his many years of loyal service and hard work as a Special. 27 years is an extraordinary amount of time to voluntarily dedicate to public service, usually carried out while holding down a demanding full time career and juggling family and police commitments. I am sure everyone in both Warwickshire Constabulary and Warwickshire Special Constabulary will join me in wishing Graham a very happy and well earned retirement from the Specials".

Philip Seccombe, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, added: "Both Graham and Katherine have achieved an enormous amount in their long and distinguished Special Constabulary careers. Their professionalism and loyalty are testament to the fact that the Specials today are highly integrated and virtually indistinguishable from the regular service, making a huge contribution to keeping Warwickshire safe.

"I am a strong supporter of the Special Constabulary, particularly as it brings people with a mix of different backgrounds and experiences into policing, while providing volunteers with a rewarding and extremely meaningful way to give back to their local community.

"I wish Graham all the best for the future and am confident that Katherine will continue to maintain the professionalism that the Warwickshire community have come to rely on from their Specials."

Katherine, whose 'day job' is Warranty Administrator for Jaguar Land Rover Warranty Returns Centre, said: "A strong family connection with policing, and my grandfather being a Special in the Metropolitan Police, inspired me to join in 1993 after finishing school. I have worked my entire career out of Rugby Police station.

"The Special Constabulary has completely changed over the years, in line with full time policing as technology and the nature of crime have evolved. When I joined, our roles were mainly foot patrol and community engagements and our uniforms could show us apart from our regular counterparts.

"But today our Special Constables cover all sorts of roles, not least being assigned to our force operations unit, responding to incidents as trained drivers and handling public order incidents.

"Besides day to day policing of my assigned borough, career highlights have included the Ryder Cup, Warwickshire's 'Global Gathering' festival, The Queen's visit to Stratford upon Avon, the Olympic torch relay, and I feel proud to have received two Chief Constable Commendations for my work.

"However my career pinnacle has to be helping secure a memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum dedicated to members of the Special Constabulary.

"I want to thank Graham for his service with the Special Constabulary and am looking forward to the challenges ahead."

Graham, a Project Manager outside the Specials, said: "After just over 27 years of Policing as a Special Constable in two forces, serving in every rank up to Chief Officer, the time is right for me to focus on my career and take up a new opportunity as a Project Manager working for Saab Technologies.

"As Katherine says, today's Special Constabulary is very different to the one I joined in my early twenties - gone are the days of wearing a different uniform to our regular colleagues and being limited to community events just at weekends.

"Throughout my time with Warwickshire Police I have served predominantly in the south of the county, being fortunate to attend the Senior Leadership Course at the College of Policing in Bramshill to learn the skills necessary to successfully lead a large number of volunteer Police Officers.

"Other highlights include being responsible for and helping plan the Special Constabulary deployment for many years to the Global Gathering event in Stratford, the Queen's visit to Stratford and the Olympic Torch relay through South Warwickshire.

"There've been so many highlights in my career but perhaps the most prominent - which I'll always remember - are when I attempted to save the lives of members of the public for which I've received three commendations. I have been very fortunate to have worked with some fantastic regular officers and Special Constables.

"I know Katherine will be an excellent Chief Officer for the Warwickshire Police Special Constabulary and I wish her, all of our Special Constables, Regular Officers and Police Staff the very best for the future."

Katherine and Graham are pictured in their Specials role.

Want to join the Specials? Read on

Currently there are 178 officers giving their own time as part of the Special Constabulary in Warwickshire.

Specials are fully warranted volunteer Police Officers who create the crucial link between police and the communities, volunteering from 16 hours to well over 100 hours per month at a time that suits them, conducting high visibility patrols and operations independently from and alongside regular officers, with many attached to the Roads Policing and Rural Crime teams.

Other invaluable skills in demand include specialisms include financial investigation and cyber-crime, while colourful assignments include Kenilworth Horse Fair and Warwick Folk Festival.

Specials hail from all walks of life, including doctors, TV presenters, teachers and musicians among many others.

Anyone who is interested in becoming a Special can find out more at https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/specialconstables.

Issued by 4pm, Monday 10 September, Nigel Sargeant, Corporate Communications

Published 10/09/18