Extra ‘Special’ volunteers support Warwickshire Police during Covid-19 crisis
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Warwickshire Police has seen some exemplary support from its volunteer Special Constabulary team over the past few weeks during the COVID-19 crisis.
The ‘Specials’ have worked 3,081 hours since the 23 March, which equates to over 600 hours a week, or the equivalent of almost 16 full time officers. Nine of the team have already done over 100 hours each during this lockdown period, five of whom have exceeded 150 volunteer hours. This is a significant contribution, providing additional visible police presence and protection within our communities during this unprecedented time.
Our Specials have been pivotal in some recent success stories over the past few weeks. Examples include a Specials Sergeant who has helped install and set up a remote video link from our Leamington custody suite to Coventry Magistrates’ Court, ensuring that cases could continue via a virtual court system. Another successfully deployed a ‘stinger’ device to halt a vehicle that failed to stop on the A46. The driver was subsequently arrested and it was discovered the individual was wanted for a violent domestic assault.
Special Chief Officer Katherine Hancock said: "The work our volunteer Specials do is extraordinary. We only ask for 16 hours a month, but so many of them have already given far beyond that. They have helped ensure the force has all the assistance and resilience it needs to support Operation Stay Home.
"Alongside the thousands of additional hours, they have embraced a variety of new roles and tasks in unusual circumstances. They have played an instrumental part in engaging, educating, encouraging and when absolutely necessary, enforcing the instructions for us all to stay home, save lives and protect the NHS."
Our Special Constabulary is a group of trained volunteers who work with and support the organisation. They come from all walks of life and volunteers are often key workers in other organisations. As well as being some of our own police staff from areas such as our Operational Control Centre (OCC), our Special Constabulary colleagues include teachers, civil servants, an actor and even an HDU nurse in the NHS.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe added his praise for the work of the Special Constabulary: "I have been really impressed by the way in which communities have come together across Warwickshire to support each other during the Covid-19 emergency. This is exemplified by the members of the Special Constabulary who go above and beyond to volunteer their time, despite any personal challenges the current situation may bring them and their families. It really has made a significant difference and on behalf of residents across Warwickshire I want to express a heartfelt thank you for all the work that our Special Constables are doing alongside their regular colleagues to keep us all safe."
Special Constables have full police powers, wear a police uniform and work alongside regular police officers and police staff. They typically spend around four hours a week, or more, supporting the police tackling crime in our local communities.
Today, the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) has published information on how police forces across the country have enforced social distancing measures. Warwickshire Police’s approach continues to focus on Engagement, Explanation and Encouragement, with Enforcement used when these do not work. It is vital that people continue to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. The NPCC release also welcomes the positive start to the national police officer recruitment drive.