Police seek volunteer Special Constables

WEST Midlands Police is seeking to recruit new Special Constables as the force looks to expand and diversify its volunteer ranks.

The search for 50 new Specials starts on Monday 9 September with the application process operating on a 'first come' basis and closing after 1,000 people have expressed an interest.

It's a move that honours an election commitment made by West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner Bob Jones to bolster the force's pool of volunteer officers.

The campaign will see specials recruited to cover local neighbourhood teams in Coventry, Birmingham City Centre, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Superintendent Richard Youds is leading the recruitment drive. He said: "Special constables provide an important link with the community, making a valuable contribution to local policing. Being part of the Special Constabulary opens you up to new opportunities, giving real job satisfaction and transferable skills.

"Specials have the same powers as regular officers and wear the same uniform. They are given all the necessary training to enable them to carry out their duties in a professional manner. The hours are flexible but specials will be required to volunteer to work a minimum of four hours each week, or more if they can spare the time."

The force is keen to recruit Specials from across all communities in the West Midlands and anyone aged over 18 is invited to apply via the recruitment section on the force's website.

Those who apply to become Specials have to commit to up to 16 weeks of training before starting. This will include at least one night a week and also weekends. Applicants will need to commit to all the training dates before being taken on.

If successful, the training will start in January 2014 for the first batch of special constables and new recruits will be sworn in at a ceremony and share the same powers as a regular constable. It is hoped the first new specials will be operational by May 2014.

PCC Bob Jones said: "Special Constables are remarkable volunteers who give their time for their community. Specials are vital in supporting local policing. These 50 new recruits will be a fantastic addition to the officers and staff of West Midlands Police on the streets, protecting the people of the West Midlands. I set out in my Police and Crime Plan how I wanted to recruit an additional 50 Specials to support the work of officers and Police and Community Support Officers, and I am delighted that we can begin recruiting soon. Becoming a Special Constable is not easy, but I would encourage anyone with the commitment and skills necessary for these vital roles to put themselves forward."

The force will begin to advertise for special constables through the website from 10am on Monday 9 September. To find out more about the process or to apply for one of the 50 roles click here.