28 May 2024

Applications open to join Wiltshire Police as a ‘Special Constable’

Wiltshire Police has opened applications for people to join the Force as a Special Constable with a target to recruit almost 40 volunteer officers across this force in the next year.

Special Constables, or Specials as they are sometimes known, are volunteer officers who have the same powers and responsibilities as regular full-time officers and carry out the same roles.

Specials come from all walks of life and volunteer their spare time for ideally a minimum of 16 hours a month. They are highly trained and play an essential role in preventing, reducing and tackling crime and keeping the communities of Wiltshire safe.

Being a special constable means investigating crimes, dealing with violence or public order incidents, helping to find missing persons, attending the scenes of road traffic collisions and many other incidents that regular officers are involved in.

In April 2024, Special Constables contributed 2269 volunteering hours, which equates to 14.2 full-time officers.

DCC Craig Dibdin said: “Volunteers have always played a vital part in policing and Special Constables really are an integral part of Wiltshire Police.

They are dedicated individuals who bring a unique set of skills and life experience. They volunteer their free time to serve their community and in doing so help us deliver our policing plan of keeping Wiltshire safe.”

Rob Bewey has been volunteering as a Special Constable with Wiltshire Police for 20 years. He said: “This is the best thing that I have ever done. The reason that I joined the special constabulary was to serve the community that I live and work in and to keep people of Swindon and surrounding areas safe.”

Ben Williamson has worked as a Special Constable for 12 years. He wanted to join as a regular Police Officer but has enjoyed the freedom of being a Special. He said that a standout moment for him was “locating and apprehending someone for murder and seeing them get sentenced to 24 years in prison.” He added that “it’s the best volunteering in the world”. 

Nigel Todd has volunteered as a Special with Wiltshire Police for 31 years. He said: “I was the first person on the scene to a stabbing where my prompt actions helped to save a life, which is a memory that has always stayed with me. Another momentous experience was assisting with the repatriations in Royal Wootton Bassett on many occasions. Both of these events resulted in a Chief Constable’s award.”

Jane Roberton has been with the Force for 7 weeks but is already loving her volunteer work. She said: “The job has already been really varied and interesting. It’s included road traffic collisions, high risk missing persons, neighbour disputes, public order offences, arrests, theft and fraud offences, domestics and of course, blue light runs!

“The Specials role is very flexible, in terms of the hours you do and when, so you can work evenings and/or weekends if you have a day job, as long as you do a minimum of 16 hours a month.

“There are various misconceptions about the role. It is a voluntary role so you do not get paid, it is not a PCSO role, you do get a full warrant card on graduation (just like a regular police officer), and you can arrest people!

“I think the most valuable skills for a Special are being able to listen, relate to people, show empathy and to remain calm and focused in difficult situations. I have found life experience to be very helpful, and with the Specials there is no upper age limit to be able to apply!”

If you feel that you have what it takes to be a special constable, can give up at least 16 hours a month and would like to give back to your community doing what must be the most rewarding volunteer role there is.

To be eligible to become a Special Constable, the basic requirements are that you must be:

  • either a national of a country within the European Economic Area or, if not, have leave to remain in the UK free of restrictions
  • at least 18 years old when making your application
  • in good health, and of good character
  • have level 2 maths and English qualifications
  • able to speak and write English competently
  • have a full driving licence by the time you start training.

You can find more information on applying to be a Special here: Special constables | Wiltshire Police

Written by
Andy Munns
View all articles
Written by Andy Munns