We are currently accepting expressions of interest to become a Special Constable.
More information about the role and how to register your interest can be found below.
What is a Special Constable?
Special Constables are volunteer police officers who have the same powers as a regular officer and perform almost all police duties.
They have the same powers of arrest as a regular officer when on and off duty and can use these powers throughout England and Wales. You also wear the same uniform which is provided for you.
The 'Specials' are part of the Special Constabulary, which is a part-time, volunteer body that works alongside statutory police forces.
About the role
Special constables come from all walks of life and form a vital link between the police and the local community.
The role of a Special Constable is varied and can be demanding. You will carry out similar duties to a regular Police Constable, meaning you might find yourself doing anything from policing sports events to helping guard crime scenes or managing road safety schemes.
Being a special constable is usually interesting, occasionally dangerous and sometimes frustrating, but almost always hugely rewarding. You will need to have an ability to think clearly and calmly under pressure to be able to deal with challenging incidents on a day to day basis.
Being a Special Constable 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 be responding to 999 calls (though probably not driving, unless you are trained to do so), arresting, detaining and dealing 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 in the service.
You may even be called upon to deal with violent offenders, but you will receive training in how to defend yourself in such situations.
Special Constables are volunteers and therefore the role is not a paid role.
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.
As a Special Constable, we ask that you volunteer at least 16 hours per month.
Location of volunteer work
There are now opportunities in more specialist roles and Special Constables are not necessarily 'tied' to a particular shift or location, therefore the location of your volunteer work can be flexible.
Once you have completed your initial training and are out performing duty, your continuous professional training will be delivered to ensure you are always up to date with current laws, legislation and procedural matters. Conversely, many Special Constables bring specialist transferable skills attained outside of the police service to the organisation and many possess training and experience that are not ordinarily gained within the police.
Upon completion of initial training, you will be a warranted officer at Accompanied Patrol Status (APS). Whilst completing your 16 hours per month, you will be completing a portfolio where you will evidence your abilities to perform policing functions safely and competently and how you deal with certain situations. The portfolio will be assessed to a qualification standard and this will be your primary aim to complete, whilst learning the role as a Special Constable in real-life situations.
Once the portfolio is completed, you will achieve DPS status – Directed Patrol Status. This will enable you to carry out duties more flexibly. Please be aware this does not mean you have full independence. Specials who have attained DPS status will only be deployed on their own in a supervised environment.
This then leads onto the final phase which is QSC status (Qualified Special Constable). To achieve QSC status, you will have the opportunity to complete some advanced learning in the 5 core areas of policing practice:
Policing the Roads
Information and Intelligence
Once learning has been successfully achieved in one of the core areas, you will progress to demonstrate full independent competence in that area, by undergoing further work-based assessments. On successful completion of all associated work-based assessments, you will become a Qualified Special Constable in the core area of policing practice chosen. You must complete all of the learning and receive a successful assessment in all five core areas of policing practice to overall achieve QSC.
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 Special Constabulary through their own rank structure. Each rank progression brings extra responsibility as with the regular service.
However, please note time served as a Special Constable will not guarantee a position as a regular Police Officer.
Who can apply?
Details of eligibility requirements can be found in the drop down list below.
Candidates may apply at the age of 17 but will not be offered appointment before the age of 18 years.
The upper age limit is dependent on your ability to be fit and healthy and pass the medical. But bear in mind new recruits are required to undertake a two-year probationary period.
All volunteer applicants are to be subject to vetting and security checks in line with the Gloucestershire Constabulary Vetting Policy.
Any applicants unsuccessful at this stage of the process have the right to appeal against the decision. You have 14 days from the date of refusal to appeal.
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.
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.
The need for the residency rule arises from the requirement to vet all applicants in an equitable manner. This is because the UK police service does not currently have any means of facilitating vetting enquiries overseas to the extent required for those who are resident in the UK.
The purpose of the residency criteria is to ensure that applicants have a checkable history in the UK, so that meaningful vetting enquiries can be undertaken. The criteria provide reassurance when considering the health and safety of police personnel and the public.
Effective vetting cannot be conducted if there is no way to assess the honesty, integrity, reliability and overall suitability for clearance of appointees against the information available.
The residency requirements refer to the period immediately before an application is made, and not any other three-, five-, or ten-year period, or any other accumulation of time spent in the UK.
Application of the residency criteria
If an individual resides permanently in the UK, they are considered to be a UK resident.
An individual who has moved overseas and severed major ties to the UK (e.g., closed bank accounts and sold property) is considered to have surrendered their residency in the UK. This would also apply to people who maintain bank accounts purely for the purpose of receiving regular payments, e.g., a UK pension.
An individual is considered to be on an extended holiday if they have:
Spent a significant period of time overseas without returning to the UK, but intend to return in the future
Taken a gap year before or following university
Travelled for a year
Spent time overseas visiting family.
This is not an exhaustive list.
Individuals who meet the above criteria maintain their UK residency and may therefore be considered for vetting clearance.
An individual who has been posted overseas as part of their service with His Majesty's Government or the armed forces is considered to have been resident in the UK for the period that they were abroad.
Where an individual has been overseas as the spouse, partner or dependent of a member of the armed forces posted overseas, they can be considered to have been resident in the UK if their place of residence was within the confines of the establishment, e.g., a military base. If they were residing outside this, they are considered to have been resident overseas.
Police Support Volunteers should abstain from any activity which is likely to interfere with impartial discharge of their duties or which is likely to give rise to the impression amongst members of the public that it may so interfere.
If a prospective volunteer is a member of the BNP or a similar organisation, their application will result in rejection.
These groups include:
British National Party (BNP)
Applications will not be accepted from individuals where there is a significant possibility that this could lead to a conflict of interest in your professional life or another volunteering role. You must therefore give full details of your current employment or other voluntary work you undertake as part of your application.
Occupations that are considered incompatible with becoming a volunteer:
Magistrates, clerks to justices and clerks to court
Members of county and district councils
Bailiffs, warrant officers
Holders of liquor licences and managers of licensed houses
Licensees of betting/gaming premises
Private detectives and inquiry agents
Security officers, guards and door people
Members of employer’s police forces and private constabularies
Civilian detention officers
Custody officers and custody escort officers
Parking enforcement officers
Members of the full-time fire service
Members of the Armed Forces
The following occupations may also be considered incompatible for particular volunteer roles:
Members of medical and health professions
Occupations with client privilege
Youth workers and social workers
Employees of security organisations
Jewellery must be discreet and inoffensive. Language or images displayed must not be inappropriate or offensive. Excessive or unconventional jewellery is inappropriate. Jewellery is a potential risk in certain situations, as it can cause an injury if caught in machinery, or pulled by an opponent. Individuals are responsible for minimising this risk.
Individuals who wear uniforms/protective clothing, or who meet the public as part of their role, must not wear jewellery which is loose, or dangles. Long earrings, jewellery for facial piercings, large rings, bracelets, or necklaces must not be worn. Individuals who work with machinery must not wear any jewellery, other than a wedding ring.
Piercings must be kept to a minimum and must be discreet.
Tattoos are not a barrier to volunteering in the constabulary; however, some tattoos could offend members of the public and colleagues, or could bring discredit to the police service.
If you need any clarification regarding your tattoos or piercings, then please email us on [email protected]
It depends on the size, nature, location, extent and whether the images or language are appropriate to be displayed. Tattoos are not acceptable if they:
Cause offence to members of the public or colleagues
Undermine the dignity or authority of the Constabulary
Are garish or numerous or particularly prominent
Indicate unacceptable attitudes to any section of the community
Indicate alignment with a particular group which could be offensive to the public, or colleagues
Are considered to be rude, lewd, crude, racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, violent or intimidating
Individuals should cover their tattoos. They may be expected to take action to rectify the tattoos, if these fail to meet the standard of non-visibility, or appropriateness.
Individuals with a tattoo on their head are expected to take steps to minimise visibility, either by growing their hair, or by the use of headwear. Headwear may not always be appropriate, so must be approved by the manager of the department in which the volunteer is deployed.
If you require any further information or have any further questions about Special Constables that you wish to ask before applying, then please email us.
Apply to become a Special Constable
We are currently accepting applications for expression of interest in becoming a Special Constable. Please note that this is not the final application to become a Special Constable.
There will be a number of virtual familiarisation events for those who have registered their interest over the coming weeks which will provide further information about the role. Following this, individuals will be invited to complete an online application.
If you wish to register your interest to us in becoming a Special Constable, then please complete and submit the online form linked below. We will then be in contact with you to let you know more information about the next steps of the application process.