Could you be a local hero and become a special constable?
Our Special constables are voluntary, part-time police officers who work in some of the most important areas of modern policing. Would you be willing to make a real difference to communities in the Leamington, Stratford, Rugby, Nuneaton and North Warwickshire areas?
As a fully-trained Special constable, you will have full police powers, wear a police uniform and work alongside regular police officers and police staff, with opportunities for promotion and to develop your leadership and management skills.
In return, you will be required to commit a minimum of 16 hours a month, although many people do significantly more as the hours can be flexible to fit around your work and home life commitments.
We are currently accepting applications to become Special Constables.
As a Special constable, you’ll learn about policing, develop new skills, meet people, enjoy new experiences and protect people from harm. You will be fully trained to give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to handle even the most difficult of situations. It includes learning:
about the police service and the duties of a police officer
the powers of arrest
how to prepare evidence for court
how to deal with difficult situations or people.
As a result, our Special constables discover new things about themselves and the depths of their capabilities.
Special constables are unpaid, but you are entitled to certain allowances, including travel to and from your place of duty, boot allowance and compensation for any loss of earnings if you are required to attend court. The uniform is provided free of charge and includes kit such as radio, baton, handcuffs and Body Worn Video to help keep you safe.
The experience gained as a Special constable is invaluable and can be a great stepping stone for furthering your career, whether in the police or developing your role elsewhere. Many new Special Constables hope to move on to become a regular police officer, either with Warwickshire Police or with another UK force.
Being a Special constable is a long-term commitment: there are several Special Constables in Warwickshire Police who have completed over ten years' service and have made a real difference to people’s lives.
Roles and responsibilities
Special constables work across a variety of policing teams, and when fully-trained can do everything that a regular police officer does, including:
patrols on foot and in police vehicles
searching people, vehicles and premises
investigating crime, arresting suspects and taking statements from witnesses
policing major events, such as festivals, marches and football matches
tackling local issues, such as anti-social behaviour and harassment.
After initial training, you’ll be attached to a tutor constable for approximately 9-12 months. During this time, you will complete a personal development portfolio covering various aspects of policing, and you are then signed off for independent patrol.
For those officers who commit the time and dedication, there are many opportunities available, and you are able to apply to work with the following teams when vacancies are available:
Patrol: these are the frontline, uniformed teams that respond to 999 and 101 calls, as well as proactively patrolling and dealing with any crimes they come across.
Safer neighbourhoods teams: these teams are based at local police stations across Warwickshire. They deal with community issues, anti-social behaviour and long-term problems in specific areas.
Operational policing units: these contain Roads policing officers working on the frontline, as well as being deployed with pre-planned operations.
Police support units: these are the public order units that support other police services at football matches, protests and marches. They also respond to incidents of major disorder.
Hear what our Specials have to say...
Read what some of our Specials say about volunteering with Warwickshire Police.
Training and development
Learning and Development Trainers provide the necessary knowledge and understanding to meet the needs of the organisation and that of the College of Policing. These are delivered throughout phases one and two over the 12 month Accompanied Patrol period.
What does training involve?
Phase one of the training consists of a variety of inputs:
Law - including legislation such as the Theft Act, Criminal Attempts Act, Offences Against The Person Act, Public Order Act and the Misuse of Drugs Act
Officer Safety Training - first aid training and physical tactics, including restraints, handcuffing, use of PAVA incapacitant spray, auto lock batons and safe ways of searching. This also includes interactive training on using the National Decision Model and how it applies within our vision and values. As part of this you will need to pass a job related fitness test.
The use of police 'Airwave' handheld radios
Custody Procedure - how to present a person under arrest to the Custody Sergeant and what happens within police custody suites
Training coverage on the European Convention on Human Rights and how this ties in with police operations in the UK.
The programme incorporates distance learning and experiential learning, in addition to traditional classroom-based learning. This means that during some weeks, Special Constables are involved in live training in a police facility classroom, and during other weeks they will take part in 'blended learning', working from home or taking part in online web seminars with the trainers.
The training programme concludes with an examination.
During the 12 months, candidates complete an Accompanied Patrol programme, as part of phase two of the training. They accompany experienced officers, and have further mandatory classroom-based training sessions to build on their knowledge and understanding, and incorporate what they have learnt in an operational context.
Candidates also work through a portfolio to record the good work they do in order to meet the National Occupational Standards for a Special Constable.
They have to demonstrate that they are 'safe and legal' in certain core policing skills. This is recorded on Police Action Checklists (PACs) in a portfolio, similar to those that are used by regular officers in their initial training.
Following the successful completion of the 12-month programme, there is no formal qualification awarded, but through the evidence obtained, candidates will be designated to be 'safe and legal' to patrol independently.
Candidates are responsible for monitoring their own progress and maintaining up to date and accurate records of evidence in their portfolio.
Supervisors are responsible for monitoring their progress while they are developing in the role and gathering evidence for independent patrol status. An experienced officer will verify the evidence claimed or examined.
Those undergoing the training may patrol with experienced Special Constables or regular police officers while working towards Independent Patrol status.
Members of the Special Constabulary Management Team are responsible for assessing candidates' written evidence and signing off the College of Policing National Occupational Standard PACs.
Supervisors should assign officers to work on patrol shifts alongside regular Patrol Officers or Senior Special Constables. The supervisor should be sighted on the core competencies and activities contained within the trainee's portfolio and safely expose them to situations and incidents to develop their skills.
Candidates' progress will be reviewed regularly by their line supervisor, and will incorporate the regular supervisor on the shift the trainee is assigned to.
Candidates will only achieve Independent Patrol Status once they have attended all phase one and phase two sessions, passed the final written exam to ensure knowledge and understanding, and completed all elements of their portfolio to demonstrate their performance.
The information below details the basic eligibility criteria for Special constables. Every circumstance is unique to each person of course, so if you have any queries about this information please get in touch with the Recruitment Team via email or telephone 01926 415 753.
To apply to be a Special Constable you must be at least 18 years old, however can start your application whilst you are 17. There is no upper age limit.
To be eligible for appointment as a Special Constable, you must be a British citizen. If you are not a British citizen, you are eligible to apply but must be a resident in the UK and free of restrictions.
If you’re from outside the UK, it’s essential that you have indefinite leave to enter or to remain in the UK. Due to changes in legislation, members of the European Economic Area (EAA) are now required to have ILR or EU settled status.
If you have recently resided abroad, we need to be able to check your previous three years, including employment, education and/or residency.
Applicants must be able both physically and mentally to perform the duties of a Special Constable once appointed. This means you must:
meet the required Fitness level: We want to make you aware at this early stage of the requirements for the fitness test. This is a test of endurance whereby you will be asked to run back and forth along a 15 metre track in time with a series of bleeps, which become increasingly faster to level 5.4.
Qualifications are not a requirement to be a Special Constable. However, you will need to pass the selection process, which includes a written test.
The police service prohibits any of their volunteers, staff, or officers including Special Constables, from becoming members of any groups and/or organisations that contradicts our values or ethics and our commitment to inclusion (examples would previously have been the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 or the National Front).
Convictions or cautions will not necessarily prevent you from being a Special Constable - it will depend on their nature and the circumstances of the offence. Failure to disclose convictions or cautions will, however, result in your application being refused so please remember to declare any convictions, cautions or involvement with the police.
If you have previously applied to any police force to join as a Special Constable and been unsuccessful, you may not re-apply for three months from the time you were notified of the outcome of your last application.
Certain occupations may prevent applicants from becoming Special Constables, such as neighbourhood and street wardens and other uniformed patrol wardens, and those involved in the administration of the law. Other roles which are excluded include security occupations which hold a Security Industry Association (SIA) licence.
You are required to declare any business interests you have which we will assess on a case by case basis.
Special Constables are in a privileged position regarding to access to information, and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption, so applicants should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly. Debts which are within your means and are manageable are not a bar to appointment and most applicants will have debts, such as mortgages, undischarged student or other loans, and credit/store cards.
Tattoos are not a bar to being a Special Constable. However, some tattoos could offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the police service, depending on their size, nature and location. If you have tattoos on your neck, forearms or hands you will be asked to provide at least two photographs of each tattoo.
Tattoos are unacceptable if they:
on your face or the front of your neck
undermine the dignity and authority of the office of Special Constable
could cause offence to members of the public or colleagues and/or invite provocation
are garish or numerous or particularly prominent
indicate unacceptable attitudes towards women, minority groups or any other section of the community
indicate alignment with a particular group that could give offence to members of the public or colleagues
are considered to be discriminatory, rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating.
Warwickshire Police values diversity and recognises that people with a variety of skills, attitudes and experiences, from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, bring fresh ideas and perspectives to policing. We are committed to fostering a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve, and encourage individuals from under-represented groups and communities to join us.
For more information, read about how our Positive Action programme supports applications from all under-represented groups, encompassing gender, people from ethnic minority background, disability and sexual orientation, or email our Positive Action team.
First, you will be asked to register your personal details. This is a short page to confirm your name, contact details and national insurance number. You will be provided with log in details and will be able to monitor your online sift progress.
Complete a realistic job preview online. The realistic job preview requires you to answer ten important questions regarding the role of a Special Constable. This is in order for you to personally assess if you feel you are the right the person for the role.
Following this, you will be asked whether you would like to continue in the process. If you click 'no' to this option, this will withdraw you from the recruitment process.
You will be requested to complete a short eligibility page to confirm your age, nationality, occupation, convictions and some financial details. Depending on your circumstances your application may need to be reviewed. If so, you will be contacted for further information.
If you are unsuccessful you will not be able to reapply until you become eligible.
The electronic application process will require you to complete an in depth application to confirm your personal details, qualification and employment information.
You will need to create an account unless you have applied to another role with us since September 2021. Once you have created your account, you will be able to monitor your application progress at any time.
Our Recruitment Team will be able to advise further on any missing information and whether you can reapply in the future if your eligibility was to change.
If eligible to apply, you will be sent an automated invitation email for you to complete an online National Sift process involving two exercises:
Situational judgement test (SJT)
4 responses per scenario – candidates will rate responses in terms of effectiveness
Behavioural style questionnaire (BSQ)
As this is a nationally led selection process, you will be required to register on the system separately, however it is an extremely short registration process!
You will have 7 days to complete the exercises. These can be completed in any order you prefer, and at any time of day, 24/7, during that time.
Reasonable Adjustments: The national sift is not timed, therefore no reasonable adjustments are required. It is automatically compatible with text to speech software, changes to background colour and coloured overlays.
If you are unsuccessful you will be provided with feedback and will be eligible to re-apply after three months, however, you are only able to complete the national sift twice within a rolling 12 month period.
You will be invited to attend a competency, values and skills-based interview which assesses your values are aligned to the College of Policing’s Competency Value Framework.
Once we are reassured that you will be able to undertake both the training aspects, and the role of the Special constable, such as writing statements, you will next be invited to commence your learning.
Warwickshire Police has piloted a virtual learning platform and we would be keen to engage you in this whilst your medical, vetting and reference checks are on-going.
Of course, should any of your pre-employment checks prove to be unsuccessful, the learning would be discontinued, but hopefully this won’t be the case.
Once your pre-employment checks have been cleared, you will be excited to learn that further in-force training will commence.
It is at the starting point of in-force training that you can tell your family and friends about how proud you are to be volunteering with us to support your local community, and Warwickshire Police will be delighted to welcome you into our policing family.