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Special constable

Voluntary officers with the same powers as regular officers, under the command of regular senior officers and with their own rank structure. 

What you'll do

Specials take part in frontline police work. They can spend much of their time on the streets, doing intelligence-based patrols in crime hotspots or taking part in crime-prevention initiatives. 

It is also extremely varied, and you could easily find yourself doing any of the following:

Ensuring public safety

  • Assisting at the scene of accidents, fires or incidents – helping control situations, ensuring people are safe.
  • Providing security and crowd control at major public events – preventing injuries and disorder. 

Preventing crime

  • Carrying out high-visibility foot patrols to deter and detect criminals.
  • Educating businesses and the community about crime and how to avoid it to reduce crime and people's fear of it happening.
  • Talking to schoolchildren about crime reduction and community safety to help them stay safe and make the right choices.

Tackling crime

  • Confronting anti-social behaviour on the streets such as gangs or intimidating behaviour.
  • Managing alcohol-related incidents such as public drunkenness or violence.
  • Enforcing road safety laws in local communities.

Investigating crime

  • Conducting house-to-house enquiries to gather information and support larger enquiries.
  • Taking part in police operations to disrupt and arrest offenders.

Securing convictions

  • Presenting evidence in court to support the justice system in prosecuting offenders.

Skills needed

Through participating in the exciting world of policing you will learn new skills and qualities and build on those you already possess. These include:

  • self-confidence
  • communication skills
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • decision making
  • time management


The basic requirements to become a special are to 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
  • able to speak and write English competently

There may be some restrictions to becoming a special, and you will need to check with the specific force you're interested in joining. This could include:

  • certain occupations (eg, neighbourhood and street wardens, other types of uniformed patrol warden, or those involved in the administration of the law) 
  • If you, your spouse or a relative holds or has a financial interest in any local licence or permit relating to liquor licensing, refreshment houses or betting and gaming or regulating places of entertainment

Ways to apply

Visit the recruitment section of the website of the police force you're interested in joining. 

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