During the day I work as an archaeologist, which means I spend a lot of time digging around for what has happened in the past. Serving as a Special Constable means working in the here and now, as well as contributing to the future.
One aspect which both roles have in common is the need to gather evidence together so you get to see the bigger picture before you can make an assessment of what has happened.
I first thought about joining the Special Constabulary when a friend, who is a Special Constable with another force, told me about how much he enjoyed working alongside regular officers. The personal satisfaction he felt about supporting and policing his local community struck a real chord with me.
Having been a Special Constable for four years, I can honestly say that it is everything I expected the role to be, and more. What I really enjoy is the challenge. When I arrive on duty I never know what I will face. Just like regular Officers, there is no such thing as a typical day for a Special Constable.
I have had to carry out ‘bed watches’ at York District Hospital to ensure that prisoners don’t escape from custody and I have been involved in operations carrying out drugs checks on people on a night out in the city using drugs dogs.
I have also carried out licensing checks on pubs and bars to make sure that door staff have the correct accreditation and that there isn’t any bother in the premises.
It can be a little intimidating at times when you’re out and about on foot patrol and there are large crowds of people partying, but there are usually two of you and back-up is only a radio call away.
The important factor to bear in mind when I’m dealing with people who are arguing is not to allow myself to take sides or get emotionally involved. I’m there to act as a calming influence to try to resolve the problem, not add to it.
The most challenging shift I have encountered was when a young man, who was out enjoying a night in the city, fell into the River Ouse. By the time we arrived we were just in time to see him go under the water for the last time. It felt truly awful knowing that there was nothing we could do to help. I often think about this incident, especially when I see people messing around near the water’s edge.
There have been some really quiet shifts when I’ve spent the whole time on the beat. It’s still an important part of the job, simply being out there providing visibility and offering reassurance to members of the community.
There have been times when I have been concerned that maybe I am not as up to speed with all of the paperwork and procedures I need to know about. But this has never been an issue, as the regular officers are always there and willing to assist and support me.
I can honestly say that I have never regretted the decision to join up for one moment and I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone up for a challenge to go for it and see what they can achieve.