Specials Frequently asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do Specials get paid?

Special Constables are volunteer police officers. Although you won't be paid, your training and duties will give you unique experiences, new and valuable skills, plus a tremendous sense of achievement of doing something worthwhile for your community. We pay reasonable mileage expenses so you will not be out of pocket for giving your time to us.


Do I have the same authority as a regular officer?

Yes. You have the same powers of arrest as a Regular Officer when on and off duty and can use their powers throughout England and Wales.

You also wear the same uniform which is provided for you.

What duties will I perform as a Special Constable?

As a Special Constable you will carry out the same duties as a regular Police Constable. This means you will be responding to 999 calls, arrest, detain and deal with suspects - just the same as a regular Police Constable operating on the front line, supporting victims and witnesses of crime, providing reassurance and instilling confidence.

How does being a Special affect you?

Being a Special is an incredible window on the "other side" of life, one that most people don't even know exists and which they are unlikely ever to come into contact with. You will see people at their very worst (and sometimes at their best). You will have to use your strength of character and common sense to deal with incidents ranging from missing persons to burglaries, assaults and car accidents. These experiences are of course going to change you and the way you view life. You will "harden" to them as you become more experienced.

Being a Special is usually interesting, sometimes boring, occasionally dangerous and sometimes frustrating. But almost always hugely rewarding. You need to have a robust sense of humour and plenty of common sense and to try to avoid getting too cynical - difficult sometimes!

Can I choose where to work?

This is mostly flexible. It depends on the capacity of the Neighbourhood Policing Team you have requested.

How many hours will I have to work?

We ask that you volunteer 16 hours per month or more if you can.

Can I get promoted?

Through promotion, you can rise up through the Special Constabulary Ranks. Each rank progression brings extra responsibility as with the regular service.

Would I receive continuous professional training?

Yes. Once you have completed your initial training course and are out on area performing duty your continuous training will be delivered to ensure you are always up to date with current laws, legislation and procedural matters. You will also be working towards Independent Patrol Status, with the help of a Development Portfolio (PACS).

Does being a Special Constable help me become a Police Officer?

Being a Special Constable will enable you to experience all aspects of police work and gain a wealth of professional knowledge. There are promotion prospects within the Specials through their own rank structure. However time served as a Special officer will not guarantee a position as a regular officer.

Are there any criteria?

We accept applications from people aged 18 and upwards. The upper age limit is dependant on your ability to be fit and healthy and pass the medical. You have to have been resident in the UK for 3 years before applying.

How old do you have to be to join?

Applications can be accepted at the age of 18. There's no upper age limit for applying to the police service, but bear in mind that the normal retirement age is 60 years and that new recruits are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.

Do you you have to be a UK Citizen?

You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom.

Foreign nationals and UK citizens who have lived abroad may have to wait some time for security and vetting clearance. All applicants have to be vetted to the same standard before appointment.

Can I join if I have a criminal record?

A number of crimes will mean a definite or likely rejection of your application, including anyone who has received a formal caution in the last five years, committed a violent crime or public order offence. When applying we would recommend honesty.

Can I join if I have tattoos?

You should not have tattoos which could cause offence. Tattoos are not acceptable if they are particularly prominent, garish, offensive or undermine the dignity and authority of your role.

Will my financial status affect my application?

Applicants will have their financial status checked. These checks are carried out because police officers/staff have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants with outstanding County Court judgements or who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts will be rejected.

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