Marc Clibbens has been a Special Constable for more than five years. Last year he started carrying out his patrol on his bike, and he’s not looked back. To celebrate Bike Week 2015, he’s written a blog post all about his typical day….
I joined the Specials in 2009 as I thought it would be a good way to learn what policing is all about, and I like helping people so it was the perfect combination. I volunteer about 100 hours a month for the Specials. My ‘day’ job is a mixture of day and night shifts, which enables me to work in my volunteering.
I started patrolling in Biggleswade and Sandy on my bike about a year ago, and then I decided I could be more use patrolling in Bedford town centre and I have been there ever since.
It takes me about 10 minutes to get to town from HQ, so I come in at the beginning of my shift at 9am, pick up my bike and head out for the day.
I prefer being out on the bike – I can interact with people more easily, and I see a lot more, than if I was in a car. It also gives me my daily exercise and a dose of fresh air. I probably cycle around 15 miles a day.
A typical day in the town centre will include a mixture of duties, but the biggest problems are street drinkers and shoplifting. By being so visible in the town centre, I am a deterrent. People know if they shoplift and try to run away, they won’t get very far because I can catch up with them quite quickly!
One of the more unusual things I’ve dealt with is a member of the public who puts on a high visibility jacket and directs traffic. His enthusiasm is great, but he doesn’t always direct the traffic the right way! So I work to discourage that, as it’s best to leave those duties to the police.
I have almost been knocked off my bike a couple of times, but it hasn’t put me off. You just have to stay vigilant and keep an eye on what’s going on around you. By far my most important message for other cyclists is to make sure you have a cycle helmet and the correct equipment.
Generally my shift finishes at 6pm, so I’ll do one more lap of the town centre before I cycle back to HQ to drop off my bike and make my way home.
As a Special, there are lots of opportunities to specialise in different areas. We have our Special dog handler and we have Specials who work in the football unit and in Roads Policing, and as more Specials join, we’ll have even more opportunities.
You never know what you’re going to walk into as a Special; every shift is different. That’s why I love it.
For tips on cycling safety and crime prevention advice, visit the Bedfordshire Police website.