As part of our series of blogs this month from some of our Special Constables, SC Tracy Lawrence tells us why she chose to become a Special Constable, and how she’s making a difference…
I joined the Special Constabulary two years ago. I had been looking for a new challenge and having had a long interest in the police and a strong belief that we all need to ‘give something back’ to our community if we want it to improve; becoming a Special seemed like the perfect thing to do.
When I joined, my intake was a varied age group. There were a couple of people my age through to some the same age as my children. Everyone has different skills and experiences that they can bring to the Special Constabulary, which are equally valuable.
The most enjoyable and yet most challenging aspect of being a Special is never knowing what is going to happen on duty.
We hold all the same powers and responsibilities as a regular officer which means we attend the same incidents as they do. I have attended an enormous variety of jobs during my service, ranging from chasing a drunk driver who had decamped from his car following a high speed car chase, to helping with community events.
Perhaps the most memorable duty I have had was when I was on duty with a regular officer last year. Our first job was to collect somebody who was wanted for recall to prison. He was surprisingly happy to meet us – we found him with his bag of belongings ready to go. We took him to the custody suite ready for court, completed the necessary paperwork and then out we went in the car again.
Next we came across a road traffic incident; fortunately it was only minor damage. After ensuring everybody involved was safe, we resumed patrol.
Then we attended a call about a sudden death. I was a little nervous when we got the call as this would be the first time I had seen a dead body, but when we got there I was ok. My overwhelming feeling was sadness as this chap had died alone, although he did seem to have gone fairly peacefully in his sleep.
We examined him for any signs of injury – he had none, which is probably why I felt ok with the situation. I may feel differently if I ever have to deal with a stab victim. We gathered evidence from his home to prepare a full report for the coroner. While we were at the scene, and just after the coroner had taken him away, we got a call from a lady whose boyfriend was threatening to hang himself. We were the nearest unit so on went the lights and sirens and we were there in moments.
My colleague and I spent the next two hours talking to the chap, finding out why he felt the way he did, what the history of his situation was and reassuring him about what could be done to help him. He eventually climbed down from his position and came with us quite calmly to be assessed in the mental health unit.
Having started our duty at 0700hrs we left at 2030hrs.
Not every duty is like that; sometimes we will be watching a vulnerable prisoner or ensuring the integrity of a crime scene for hours at a time, but whatever we are doing we have the satisfaction of knowing that we are making a positive difference. Not only are we making a difference to the community, but a difference to us as well, and our personal development.
The personal growth through a role like this is phenomenal, the skills and confidence I have built during my training and on duty transfers to all aspects of my life.
If there is anyone out there wondering whether this is something they could do, I would tell them to go for it.
To find out more about becoming a Special Constable, come along to one of our information evenings. You can find out more here.