North Yorkshire’s dedicated Special Constables have contributed a total of more than 2,334 hours to support frontline policing since restrictions were put in place by the Government to combat the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the UK.
A total of 55 Special Constables have completed 2,334 hours of deployment over 405 duties between Monday 23 March 2020 and Sunday 17 May 2020, as part of North Yorkshire Police’s response to the fight against Covid-19.
‘Specials’, as they are known, have been working with regular colleagues to respond to emergency calls, as well as engaging, explaining, encouraging and enforcing members of the public to adhere to the government’s guidelines on social distancing.
Special Constables have the same power, uniform and responsibilities as full-time police officers but volunteer on a part-time basis, managing their role alongside their normal employment. They come from all walks of life and backgrounds, bringing a diverse range of skills and experience to the role.
The force currently has 80 Specials who actively volunteer their time for the force with a further 14 student Special Constables from across the force starting their initial training later this month.
North Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable Lisa Winward, who started her policing career as a Special Constable with North Yorkshire Police in 1993 and is the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) lead for Citizens in Policing, has thanked the all the Specials who volunteer for the force. She said:
“The dedication from our Special Constabulary over the last seven weeks has been nothing short of extraordinary. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to each and every one for selflessly stepping forward as front line officers, helping us to protect the public during these unusual and challenging times.
“Whilst they could have been staying safe at home, they have instead chosen to pull on their North Yorkshire Police uniform to help protect the vulnerable and keep our communities safe.
“We are incredibly fortunate to have so many individuals in our extended North Yorkshire policing family who volunteer their own time to help make a huge difference to our policing capabilities.
“Finally I’d like to thank the families of our serving Specials for supporting your loved one to join us on the front line – not just at the moment but throughout the years. Thanks to you, there are 80 extra officers out on the streets of North Yorkshire. I hope you feel as proud of them as we do.”
Special Chief Officer Sharron Moverley-Holmes said: “Once again we see our brilliant Special Constabulary give their all in support of their local communities, going beyond what is asked of them and providing massive support to their regular colleagues.
“Throughout our response to COVID-19, they have done a brilliant job as volunteer members of the community, giving their time to support the policing effort. Initially, many were completing their duties alongside their full time employment but then many were furloughed, and so have been volunteering even more of their time to the frontline.
“My thanks go to them all for their unstinting support, it is very much valued and appreciated during these very strange times.”
Special Constable Jon Everitt has been volunteering with North Yorkshire Police for nearly three years. He was furloughed by his employer shortly after the COVID-19 situation escalated, and noting that furloughed employees were being encouraged to undertake voluntary work where possible he found a role working full-time with his regular colleagues in Response at Harrogate Police Station.
“It’s been a difficult time for us all during lockdown, but this has been a fantastic opportunity for me to develop my skills as a Special, and it’s been great to feel that I’m able to do something of value for my local community. The Band that I have joined at Harrogate have made me so welcome and really made me feel like part of the team. The support that I have had from supervision, my colleagues and the Force Control Room staff has been outstanding. As an independent-patrol Special I have been treated just like any other response cop, but happily there has only been one cake fine so far! I won’t say what it was for…
“I’ve worked as close to full-time hours as I can, but it’s been balancing act between being a full-time Special and finding the time to home-school my 11 year old daughter.
“Policing the measures introduced as a result of the virus has been difficult. Nobody joins the Police Service in any capacity to be involved in breaking up social gatherings that would normally be a part of normal life for instance, but on the whole the public of Harrogate have been very supportive of what my colleagues and I have been asked to do in order to protect the NHS.
“The normal business of response policing has continued despite the crisis, so as well as the additional coronavirus-related work I’ve been searching for missing people, dealing with RTCs and sudden deaths, attending domestics and the whole other gamut of normal police work.
“I’ve found a new day job while on furlough, which I’m due to start in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to being back in normal employment, but as a ‘career Special’ this time spent as a full-time cop will live with me for a very long time and hopefully it’s made me a better Special.”
Special Sergeant Robson Harrison, who attested as a special with the force a little under three years ago covering Scarborough, is among those stepping up to support frontline officers during the fight against Covid-19. He’s been working alongside regular colleagues by using both volunteer days and his annual leave with his employer Sky UK. He said:
“Volunteering as a Special Constable is the most rewarding adventure I have ever undertaken, it is a role like no other. When carrying out duties, I normally support my local response teams which brings with it its own unique variety of fascinating challenges. Covid-19 has impacted all of us and has by far been the most challenging yet, this has been reflected more so by the fast paced and dynamic way in which we have had to adapt our policing skills to best protect the public throughout the lockdown.
“I am incredibly proud to be a part of and support a fantastic team of Special Constables who have selflessly and continuously worked to support the policing response to the coronavirus in the Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale areas. Collectively we have totalled 600 front-line hours in these areas since the beginning of March despite the risks that face each and every one of us every time we turn up to a shift.
“My partner works in a hospital and unfortunately, she tested positive for the virus which was difficult for us both to apprehend. In a way, seeing how badly she was affected made me more determined to personally commit more time, to protect our NHS and to help keep my community safe.
“No matter the risks or circumstances I will always serve my community with a smile and help to keep protect them. The experiences I have encountered whilst policing these past couple of months will stay with me for the rest of my career.”
Special Sergeant Nadine Slattery, who has been a Special with the force for ten years covering Richmondshire and also working closely with colleagues across Hambleton, is also among those stepping up to support frontline officers during the fight against Covid-19. She’s been working four days a week for her employer Richmondshire District Council, whilst home-schooling her six year-old and one year-old children, on top of continuing to complete her volunteering hours: She said:
“When you are a Special Constable you never know what a duty will hold and no two shifts are ever the same – and that is especially true at the moment. The colleagues I work with, no matter where I work, are incredible and I have been enormously proud to put my uniform on to work alongside them to help protect our communities.
“My sister is a Critical Care ICU nurse who is working day in day out to help people, so on a personal level it has been really important to continue volunteering during this time so I can also protect her and our NHS.
“Being part of the policing response to COVID-19 has been extremely rewarding and something I will remember for a very long time. I’m glad that I have been able to use this time to really make a difference.”
Special Constable Pete Allison has been a Special with the force for almost two and a half years covering York and is among those stepping up to support frontline officers during the fight against Covid-19. As well as volunteering as Special he runs his own Estate Agency in York, which has just re-opened this week after restrictions were lifted. He said:
“Ever since I had to temporarily close my business in recent weeks due to the Government’s restrictions I have been undertaking additional patrols, dealing with ongoing crime and anti-social behaviour issues, reassuring the public and helping engage and educate our local community.
“I really enjoy the fast pace of response policing supporting regular colleagues to deliver frontline services, the team culture of the Specials and all the opportunities for community engagement. Even though we are volunteers, we continue to feel a real part of the North Yorkshire Police family and are all proud to serve all those who live here.”
North Yorkshire Police will be recruiting special constables later in the summer. For more information and updates on North Yorkshire Police’s Special Constabulary including recruitment dates, please visit northyorkshire.police.uk/specials or follow #SpecialContribution on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.Last modified: May 19, 2020