The Special Constabulary is the United Kingdom’s part-time police force. It is made up of volunteer members of the public who when on duty wear a uniform and have full police powers. There are nearly 20,000 Specials serving with police forces across the UK, working in all aspects of policing.
The modern Special Constabulary has been in existence since 1831 when Parliament passed “An act for amending the laws relative to the appointment of Special Constables, and for the better preservation of the Police”. This Special Constables Act 1831 forms the basis of special constable principles up to the modern day.
Special constables are trained volunteers who provide an invaluable link between the police service and the communities that it serves. With the same powers as regular officers, special constables dedicate a portion of their free time to performing a variety of policing duties.
At its core the Special Constabulary represents an embodiment of the principle, first voiced by Sir Robert Peel, that “the police are the public and the public are the police;”
There are currently 14,864 special constables serving throughout the 43 Home Office police forces in England and Wales, providing dedicated support to regular colleagues in the ongoing delivery of an effective policing service to the public. Collage of Policing
Volunteers for the Special Constabulary come from all walks of life. You may be at home, bringing up a family, or employed in any one of a wide variety of jobs. The diversity and varied experiences of the Special Constabulary helps the police service to represent the communities they serve.
Special constables have the same powers and much of the same training as full-time officers. Playing a vital role in neighbourhood policing teams, these officers can also train to undertake specialist roles, responding to 999 calls and working in the road policing unit.
“Special constables have been involved in policing Sussex since 1831 and are an integral part of policing in the modern world.
“They are a unique and tenacious group of people who give their time for free and bring a wealth of experience and diversity to the Sussex Police workforce.”
Special constables devote a minimum of 16 hours a month, supporting local police teams, gaining new experiences and skills and learning about many aspects of police work. In-depth training is provided covering the police service, the duties of a police officer, powers of arrest and common crimes, how to prepare evidence for court and personal safety.