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Frequently asked questions

Joining the Special Constabulary can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do. But perhaps you have more questions before you take the first step. If so, just ask!

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To apply to become a Special you must:

  • Be aged 18 or over
  • Be a British Citizen, a European Union/European Economic Area national or commonwealth citizen, or a foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the UK
  • Have a minimum of three years continuous residency in the UK, with less than 12 months spend abroad in the last three years (with some exceptions for those living on a UK military base)
  • Be able to pass our fitness test, reaching level 5.4 on a 15 metre shuttle run (bleep test)
  • Not currently undertaking a restricted occupation
  • Only have applied to one force at any time; if you have previously applied with us or for another force you must wait 6 months from your result notice before re-applying

How do I contact North Yorkshire Police about my application?

All the answers that you need to know about the recruitment process are contained here. If you still have questions you can e-mail us at specialsrecruitment@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk we will try to respond to your enquiry within 48 hours.

Is there an upper age limit for joining the Special Constabulary?

No, anyone aged over 18 can join—but every candidate must clear the fitness test and medical checks.

What qualifications are required?

No specific qualifications are required to enable you to become a Special Constable.

If I need to obtain medical records from my GP, will I have to pay?

Yes, North Yorkshire Police do not pay or reimburse such expenses you may incur as part of the application process.

If I need an eye test will I have to pay?

Yes, North Yorkshire Police do not pay or reimburse such expenses you may incur as part of the application process.

If I got into trouble in the past will that affect my application?

A conviction or caution is not an automatic eliminator. You must ensure that you disclose all details of any offences however minor, failure to declare any offences may mean that your application is rejected. Checks will be made, each will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

I have a driving conviction, will this affect my application?

Depending on the severity of the conviction this may affect your application, for example if you have been convicted of drink driving in the last 10 years then it is likely your application will be refused.

If a member of my family has had a conviction, will this affect my application?

This would be dependent on the nature of the conviction. If your family member has been convicted of a serious offence e.g. burglary then yes it is likely that your application will be refused.

I have had some financial troubles, will this affect my application?

Applicants must have not been declared bankrupt with outstanding debts, have outstanding County Court Judgements against them or be subject to a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). If you have any of these then it is likely that your application will be refused.

I have been travelling abroad within the last year, can I still apply?

An individual who has spent a significant period of time overseas without returning to the UK, but with the intention of doing so in the future, such as an individual who takes a gap year prior to or following university or an individual who goes travelling for a year, is considered to have taken an extended holiday. As such, they will maintain residency in the UK and therefore be eligible for consideration under the Residency Criteria. North Yorkshire Police apply a maximum time spent out of the UK as 12 months and must be for the reasons stated above (working outside the UK for an extended period is not covered in the above), however, we will discuss any potential issues on a case by case basis.

I have had corrective eye surgery – are there any restrictions with regards this?

Yes, acceptable forms of surgery are LASIK, LASEK, PRK, ICRS. Surgeries that are not acceptable are Radical and Acute Keratotomy, Corneal Grafts.

Can I choose the location where I will be based?

You can make 2 choices within your application as to the preferred locations you would be willing to work. We will try to accommodate your preference. However, we would usually look to post you to a location nearest to your home address unless there are specific circumstances to preclude this.

What happens if I don’t live within the Force Area?

You can still apply if you live outside the North Yorkshire area. However please consider how far you may have to travel as North Yorkshire Police will not pay for travel expenses outside the force area. If you feel that the distance is too far to travel then you may wish to consider applying to the force within your local area if they are recruiting.

What happens if I miss a training session?

All training is mandatory, however, there will be exceptional circumstances when it is not possible to attend a training session. Such absences will be treated on an individual case by case basis.

Is the training accredited?

No, however, all training is matched against the National Occupational Standards for a regular Police Officer. Regular assessments take place throughout the course.

Where does the initial training take place?

Your initial training will primarily take place at Police Headquarters, Newby Wiske, Northallerton, DL7 9HA or Fulford Road Police Station, York, YO10 4BY. However, please note that there will be the requirement, on occasions to train at an alternative location such as Seamer Road, Scarborough.

What happens if my employer doesn’t give me the time off?

All of the training dates are provided to you in advance to allow you to notify your employer should any of the dates clash with times you are scheduled at work.

During the training are there any assessments/tests or exams?

Yes, there are both practical and written assessments.

What happens after the initial training?

After completion of the initial training you will be ‘Attested’. You will then undertake a period of accompanied patrol where you always work with another fully qualified officer to enable you to gather evidence to complete your Student Officer Learning and Assessment Portfolio. Following this you will then return to the training arena to undertake another five training sessions to enhance your skills and knowledge.

How will I be assessed during accompanied patrol?

You will be required to provide written evidence demonstrating your ability to carry out specific policing skills. This evidence is known as the SOLAP (Student Officer Learning and Assessment Portfolio). You will be required to ‘write up’ evidence of incidents that you have attended to show that you can practically apply your learning to different situations. Each area must be evidenced at least twice before you will be deemed competent. You will be expected to have evidenced 50% of the criteria within 3 months of leaving initial training, and have completed 100% by the time you reach 12 months. To meet these deadlines you will need a focussed approach to SOLAP and will probably be investing 16 – 32 hours a month while you gather this evidence. Once you have proven that you are competent in all areas then you will be able to patrol independently.

What does it mean to be ”Attested”?

To be ‘Sworn in’, means that you will be in front of a magistrate, possibly at court and will be required to recite the oath of allegiance to the Queen.

Will I be paid for my time?

No, Special Constables within North Yorkshire Police are voluntary. You will however be reimbursed for travel expenses and issued with a uniform and appropriate protective equipment.

Will I incur any expense in order to be a Special?

As part of the recruitment process you may be required to provide information from your GP or Optician if required and they may charge you for this service.

How many hours per week will I have to commit to?

You will have to commit a minimum of four hours per week. However during the first two years’ service you are required to complete an evidence portfolio (the SOLAP, further details above) during this time you are likely to need to commit to approximately eight hours per week.

Are the 16 hours I need to volunteer flexible, or on fixed days?

During your initial training the dates and times you are required to volunteer will be fixed. However, after your initial training the majority of duties you undertake will be flexible and dependent on your availability—with ongoing training the only exception.

Will I always have to work weekends?

No, after your initial training, attendance is welcome when you are available to attend. Often Special Constables choose to work weekends because it suits them, but this is not compulsory. Can a Special Constable be made to report for duty if they don’t want to or can’t make it? No, Special Constables volunteer their time when they choose to. Nobody will try and force you to work at times that are not suitable. All we ask is that following training, you commit to a minimum of four hours per week – that’s an average of 16 hours per month. However, there are occasions such as a major incident when you maybe contacted at short notice to ask if you can assist with the policing operation.

Am I able to claim expenses?

Yes, once you start as a Special Constable with North Yorkshire Police you will be eligible to claim expenses relating to mileage (travel). Specials who live outside the North Yorkshire Police area can only claim mileage from the border to the venue and back.

Will I have to go to court?

If you make an arrest as a Special Constable and the case is later taken to court you may have to attend court as a witness or to give evidence. This may be at times during your normal working hours. If this occurs you would receive prior notice and would be able to claim for any loss of earnings which resulted.

What if I got injured on duty as a Special Constable?

If you are injured on duty, then there is insurance cover which will cover loss of earnings for a period of time.

What protective equipment would I be issued with?

A Special Constable in North Yorkshire is issued with the following: A stab vest, slash resistant gloves, Asp, handcuffs, PAVA incapacitant spray, boots and high visibility clothing.

Will I always patrol with a Police Officer?

A Special Constable can patrol with Police Officers, Special Constables and after completion of probationary period, Police Community Support Officers.

Will I be able to drive Police vehicles?

Yes, following a required length of service Specials can apply for an assessment, which will allow them to drive police vehicles. The basic assessment does not allow Special Constables to drive with blue-lights or sirens activated.

Do I need to inform my employer?

All Special Constables are advised to inform their employers of their appointment and the hours they are likely to perform each week so as to satisfy certain requirements under the Working Time Regulations (WTR).