Special Constabulary

The Specials are a force of trained volunteers who provide a valuable link between the police and the local community. With the same powers as regular officers, they work in their free time on a variety of police duties.

The modern Special Constabulary has been in existence since 1831 when Parliament passed "An act for amending the laws relative to the appointment of Special Constables, and for the better preservation of the Police". This Special Constables Act 1831 forms the basis of special constable principles up to the modern day.

Special constables are trained volunteers who provide an invaluable link between the police service and the communities that it serves. With the same powers as regular officers, special constables dedicate a portion of their free time to performing a variety of policing duties.

At its core the Special Constabulary represents an embodiment of the principle, first voiced by Sir Robert Peel, that "the police are the public and the public are the police;"

There are currently 16,050 special constables serving throughout the 43 Home Office police forces in England and Wales, providing dedicated support to regular colleagues in the ongoing delivery of an effective policing service to the public.

In this section there is information and resources relating to:

  • becoming a special constable
  • volunteering as a special constable, covering a range of topics such as professional practice, training opportunities, transfers and legal fees insurance
  • strategic matters relating to the Special Constabulary
  • the recruiting, retaining and managing of special constables by individual police forces.

Latest News

National Specials Weekend
A date for this year's National Specials Weekend has been confirmed by the Citizens in Policing Community of Practice (CiPCoP) group. This will take place on 4-5 June 2016. It coincides with other activities taking place as part of the wider National Volunteers Week celebrations.

The aim of this well-established annual event is to raise the profile of the Special Constabulary, both in local communities and at a wider, national level. Engaging with the media and potentially securing support from MPs, local councillors and Police and Crime Commissioners can aid in achieving this aim.

As was the case in 2015 no national theme has been set. Rather forces are encouraged to establish their own themes/events, taking into account local needs or priorities, on either a force or regional basis. It is hoped that as many specials as possible are involved during this weekend to actively showcase a range of the diverse types of skills, duties and responsibilities associated with service as a special constable.

Special Constabulary Senior Leadership Programme
This programme has been developed to give senior officers within the Special Constabulary (including Chief Inspectors and Inspectors who are operating at Chief Inspector level), the learning and development opportunities which are available to regular colleagues who attend the Senior Leadership Programme.  The course comprises a four day programme - which is spread over two weekends. Dates for the next two iterations of this course are as follows:

​Weekend 1:  7-9 Oct 2016   @ Sunningdale
Weekend 2:  25-27 Nov 2016
​Weekend 1: 11-13 Nov 2016   @ Ryton
Weekend 2: 20-22 Jan 2017

One course (Oct-Nov) is taking place at The College of Policing's Sunningdale site with the other two (June-Sept and Nov-Jan) being held at Ryton.

In order to apply for the Special Constabulary Senior Leadership Programme please complete the course booking form and email to the address below.

Booking contact: Customer Support Team
Phone: Tel: +44 (0)1256 602300

Email: leadership@college.pnn.police.uk

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