Wiltshire Police

Wiltshire Special Constabulary

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FAQS About special constables

What does a special constable do?

Special constables are trained volunteers work alongside regular officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), as part of the Community Policing Team.

Specials come from all walks of life and a range of careers.

Whilst on duty, special constables have the same powers as regular officers.

In return for their commitment of a minimum of 16 hours a month, special constables receive first class training, support and the uniform and equipment to carry out the role.

Why do people become special constables?

People become Specials for many different reasons as you may want to:

  • Give back to the community
  • Build skills and gain experience
  • Challenge yourself
  • Gain insight into the role of the police officer before applying for the role
  • Meet new people

Are Specials different from PCSOs (Police Community Support Officers)?

Yes. PCSOs are members of police staff who work alongside police officers out in the community.

Special constables are trained volunteers who when on duty have the same powers as regular police officers.

Are there different types of Specials?

No. Wiltshire Police does not have different roles within the Special Constabulary, but there are opportunities to gain specialist skills in roads policing.

The Special Constabulary are looking into opportunities to specialise in different areas of the Force.

As a Special you can work towards promotion through the ranks.

Is there minimum age limit?

You can apply to become a Special aged 17 years and six months but you cannot be appointed or attested (given police powers / warrant card) until you are 18 years old.

What is the age limit?

There is no upper age limit, although you must be able to pass the recruitment process which includes a fitness test and reasonably fit and a medical.

Are there any residency restrictions?

Yes. All applicants need to have resided permanently in the UK for a minimum of three years prior to applying. However if you have resided outside the UK for a time but can provide sufficient information to enable meaningful checks to be conducted in relation to that period, we will consider your application alongside the information you provide.

Do I have to pay for a uniform and equipment?

No. All equipment including uniform is provided free of charge. Agreed travel and out of pocket expenses will be paid.

What are the benefits?

The Special Constabulary will give you the opportunity to develop your skills and challenge yourself in an interesting and exciting environment.

How many hours will I have to volunteer?

You must serve at least 16 hours a month. On occasion you will be asked to complete specific duties, such as concerts, county shows.

There is no limit on the number of hours you volunteer.

Do Special Constables have to sign up for a minimum term?

No but applicants do need to be dedicated and committed to the role.

I am or have been a member of BNP or similar organisation. Is that automatically a bar to appointment?

The Police Service has a policy of prohibiting any of their officers or staff from becoming members of the BNP or similar organisations whose aims, objectives or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality. If you are, or ever have been a member of BNP or a similar organisation your application will be rejected

I have a tattoo - is that a problem?

Tattoos are not necessarily a bar to appointment. However some tattoos could potentially offend colleagues, members of the public or could bring discredit to Wiltshire Police. If you have tattoos, please take a photograph and send in with your application form, together with a description, their size and location.

I have health issues - is this a problem?

Applicants must be in good health and sound constitution and be able, both physically and mentally, to perform the duties of a Special Constable if appointed. If you have a disability we will make adjustments where it is reasonable to do so. During the experience day applicants will undertake a medical examination.

If I become a special constable will it help me get into the regular police?

There is no direct advantage but clearly being a special constable will provide a valuable insight into policing. Quite a number of our special constables have gone on to become regular officers.

In terms of employment history, how far do I have to go back?

During the recruitment process we will ask for five years of employment or education history. Please also include full details of any military service, regardless of when that was.

Is anyone excluded from applying?

Yes, certain jobs result in conflicts of interest. There is quite a list but here are some examples;

  • Armed Forces (not reservists)
  • Traffic wardens and school crossing patrols
  • Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)
  • Highways Agency Traffic Officers
  • Magistrates
  • Any other employment that the Chief Constable deems a conflict of interest

If you are in any doubt please contact the Specials recruitment officer for further guidance specials.recruitment@wiltspolice.recruit-specials.co.uk

What are the Nationality rules?

You must be a British Citizen, or a member of the European Community (EC) or other states of the European Economic Area (EEA), a Commonwealth Citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK free of restrictions and with unrestricted leave to remain. You will be asked to produce your passport and other identification when attending the experience day

What if I am in debt?

Police officers are in a privileged position and could therefore be considered potentially vulnerable to corruption. Applicants who have existing County Court Judgements outstanding against them or who have been registered bankrupt and these debts have not been discharged will not be considered.

Applicants who have been declared bankrupt will only be considered three years from discharge of the debt.

If you have an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) please contact the Wiltshire Police Vetting Unit.

What if I have a criminal record?

Ideally, you should not have a criminal record. Some minor convictions may not preclude you. You must declare any conviction, civil or military (including minor and juvenile offences, cautions, bind-overs, reprimands and fixed penalty notices) regardless of how long ago these took place. Failure to declare any of these will result in rejection.

Spent convictions under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 must be declared.

Finally you must also declare if you have ever been involved in any criminal investigation whether or not this led to prosecution (either of yourself or others).

Do Special Constables get paid?

No. The role of special constable is voluntary. Agreed travel and out of pocket expenses will be paid.

Where in the county will I be based?

Specials will form part of the Community Team and will be part of one of the seven teams across the county.

Some specials prefer to be based locally within their own communities whilst others prefer to be based within another town. We will work with you to identify a team that is suitable for your needs.

Do I get to choose when I work?

Yes. We ask that specials organise their shifts with their Community Policing Team Sergeant so the team know when to expect you and include you in any team plans.

On occasions we will ask if you are available to work a specific shift to support an event or operation.

Special Inspector Guy Sanders

Would you like to find out more?

If you've got a question, have a look at Frequently Asked Questions
or email the team at specials.recruitment@wiltspolice.recruit-specials.co.uk

Register today to become a Special Constable