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.
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
- common crimes
- personal protection
- problem solve
- 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
- roads policing
- 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.
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 Special Constabulary Recruitment Team.
To apply to be a Special Constable you must be at least 18 years old. There is no upper limit.
To be eligible for appointment as a Special Constable, you must be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and other foreign nationals are also eligible but only if they are resident in the UK free of restrictions.
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 in good health, of sound constitution and able both physically and mentally to perform the duties of a Special Constable once appointed. The Home Office guidance states that applicants must have a body mass index (BMI) between 18-30.
Successful applicants will be asked prior to appointment to complete a medical questionnaire and an eyesight test.
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 has a policy of prohibiting any of their Special Constables from becoming members of the British National Party (BNP), Combat 18 or the National Front, whose aims, objectives or pronouncements contradict our duty to promote equality. If you are a member of the BNP or similar, your application will be rejected.
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.
If you have previously applied to be a Special Constable and been unsuccessful, you may not re-apply for six 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.
Special Constables are in a privileged position regarding to access to information, and could be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption, so applicants should not be under pressure from debts or liabilities, and 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.
Applicants who have existing County Court judgements outstanding against then or have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have not been discharged will not be considered.
Applicants who have discharged County Court judgements may be considered.
Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have been discharged will only be considered after three years from discharge of the debt.
Applicants who are the subject of a current individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) may not be considered.
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 face, neck, forearms or hands you will be asked to provide at least two photographs of each tattoo.
Tattoos are unacceptable if they:
- 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 Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME), disability and sexual orientation, or email our Positive Action team.
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 financial details. Depending on your circumstances your application may need to be reviewed. If so, you will be contacted by the for further information.
If you are unsuccessful you will not be eligible to reapply until six months have expired, or as otherwise advised.
If eligible to apply you will be sent an automated invitation email for you to complete a behaviour styles questionnaire. The questionnaire will take approximately 20 minutes to complete. There will be a total of 72 statements for you to respond to. There will be four statements per page.
Example Question: 'I ensure that I do things to the highest standard'.
You will be required to choose one of the following options which best describes your behaviour at work:
- Completely disagree
- Strongly disagree
- Somewhat disagree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Somewhat agree
- Completely agree
You will be provided with feedback via email. If successful, you will be emailed an invitation to request completion of the next stage of the online sift.
If you are unsuccessful you will be provided with feedback and will be eligible to re-apply in six months.
You are invited to complete the situational judgement test. The test will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. The test will provide you with series of real life scenarios that could occur in the role of a Special Constable.
You are required to rate each of the statements provided. Each option should be rated for its effectiveness and not comparison with other options.
The options will be:
- Slightly Effective
- Very Effective
You will be provided with feedback via email. If successful, the Special Constabulary Recruitment Team will forward you a link via email to complete an electronic application form.
If you are unsuccessful you will be provided with feedback and will be eligible to re-apply in six months.
The electronic application process will require you to complete an in depth application to confirm your qualification and employment information.
You will be provided with log in details and will be able to monitor your application progress.
If you are unable to access the electronic application once you reach this stage of the process, please contact the Special Constabulary Recruitment Team via email: Specials@warwickshireandwestmercia.pnn.police.uk or telephone 01905 331433.
Still not sure?
to be a Special Constable with Warwickshire Police