Fed chair adds voice to praise for Specials

South Wales Police Federation has echoed the comments of Welsh lead Nicky Ryan who has been singing the praises of the Special Constabulary.

Nicky, who is also Police Federation Specials lead, was speaking on TalkTV as part of the channel’s Police Week.

She described the volunteers as an “amazing asset” to policing and said the key roles they play should be properly acknowledged.

The Special Constabulary dates as far back as 1831 but Specials were only allowed to join the Police Federation last summer.

South Wales branch chair Steve Treharne said: “It was an historic moment and the culmination of a decade of campaigning when the Police Federation welcomed Special Constables into its membership last summer.

“Specials give their time to work alongside regular officers and face the same risks, but had never been fully represented in terms of regulations, formal negotiations, and discussions with key policy and decision-makers.

“Thankfully, that all changed last year because we have always felt they should be entitled to support and advice from our reps and should be able to call on expert advice and representation whenever they need it.”

Nicky told TalkTV she did not feel the value of Specials was always fully appreciated.

She said: “We need to acknowledge that day in, day out there are Special Constables up and down the country that are carrying out front line duties, detective roles, fighting cybercrime, roads policing - they cover the whole range of duties.

“The skills that policing gets from them can’t be quantified. They are an amazing asset. We have career Specials with 25 or 30 years’ service and they have so much knowledge and experience.”

Nicky said some people joined the Special Constabulary as a route into a career in policing while others chose to sign up because they wanted to serve their community.

She said several current Chief Constables and senior officers had begun their policing careers as Specials.

“We have 7,401 Special Constables in England and Wales and last year they volunteered more than 2.5 million hours to policing which equates to just over £61.5 million," she told TalkTV.

“Special Constables can and do perform most of the same duties as their paid colleagues.

“They wear the same uniform, they have the same policing powers and they are expected to perform to the same high standards - performance wise and ethics wise - as paid officers. The only difference is they are volunteers.”

Nicky said Specials were not paid but were reimbursed for any expenses and often volunteered through a strong sense of community and commitment.

“We have all sorts of people, airline pilots, young mums, students - we have a whole range of people from different backgrounds,” she said.

“People do it for a variety of different reasons and we get to utilise their skills and they learn new skills from policing.

“There are all sorts of areas of policing that are opening up to Specials because we now acknowledge the skills and depth of experience that they have.

“We have people from the banking sector, people from the cyber world with a range of skills that far surpasses what we have in policing.”