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Special Constable Tom Stirling

Although I hadn’t planned on a front-line policing career, my day job led me into it, and I’ve never looked back.

I work as Digital Communications Manager for North Yorkshire Police, which means that as well as keeping our website and social media channels up-to-date, I help our officers and staff use new technology to engage with their communities. We’ve come a long way since I joined – back then it was headline news when we set up our first Twitter account!

One day I was reading through the information we were using on our website to support a Special Constabulary recruitment campaign. I became really interested in the role, and with the support of my partner, I decided to give it a go.

I’ve been a Special Constable since 2012, and to this day, every duty brings something new and unexpected. I’ve helped keep people safe during severe flooding, taken statements from victims of serious crime, policed the Tour de Yorkshire, dealt with really difficult incidents involving mental health, and assisted with numerous drugs warrants all over York. Probably the highlight of my service – literally – is when I ended up on a fire engine aerial platform, high above the streets of York, retrieving a suspected firearm from the rooftop of a shop on Stonegate. It turned out to be a replica, but that didn’t make the descent any easier!

North Yorkshire Police takes part in Employer Supported Policing, a national scheme which encourages employers to allow their employees time off work to carry out the role of Special Constable. In my case, North Yorkshire Police allows me eight hours per month, which is a huge benefit and lets me balance my volunteering with my family life. I know other large employers will allow their staff time off for training, and I’d definitely recommend checking this out.

Serving as a Special Constable is not easy. You will be called on to deal with some really challenging incidents, just like a regular police officer, and at times you will feel out of your comfort zone. However, the training is in-depth and thorough, you’ll get all the uniform and kit you need to keep you and your colleagues safe, and you’ll be joining a fantastic team at North Yorkshire Police. If you think it might be for you, I’d urge you to give it a go!