As I went through school I got involved with sports coaching, and on the recommendation of one of my teachers I moved into teaching. I qualified in 1996 and started work straight away. I began my career, and gradually moved my way up to a point where starting a new career would have been difficult.
All that time I still had an interest in policing, but because I was so immersed in teaching I just assumed that was it and I’d never get to fulfil that dream. My cousin is also a police officer and we’d spoken about the Special Constabulary before, but the catalyst was really when the Junior Police Squad started working in my school and I got to know the officers running the scheme.
I spoke to them about joining and one told me they would have me in as a Special within a year, but I wasn’t sure how realistic that was! As it turns out, that’s what happened.
The training has been first rate, particularly our two training Sergeants who have been brilliant. Because of their knowledge and the time they’ve been doing the job, they’ve been able to give practical examples of the things we’ve been learning about. They have a genuine desire to help people, and if there have been any issues they have been proactive in resolving them.
It has been challenging and you have to get used to thinking on your feet; you are put under pressure and made to think about what you would do in certain situations.
I’ve built brilliant friendships, and I will probably stay in touch with those people forever even if we are based in different areas. It’s been great and I’ve actually really enjoyed learning something from the beginning again.
I’ve finished my initial training and have attested, which means now I’ll be supported by regular police officers and other Specials for about two years before I become an independent Special.
Some people have asked me how I’m going to fit in my volunteering with my job, but I’m going to treat it as a hobby. Whereas some people would make time to go golfing, I will make time for my volunteering.
A clichéd response about why I wanted to join is that I wanted to make a difference, but I do genuinely believe I will be doing that!
It sets a really good example to the children I teach as well. And hopefully what I’m doing shows how much respect I have for the officers who have been working in my school with the Junior Police Squad.
I’m looking forward to getting involved and I don’t think I’ll ever get too tired of the blue lights and sirens! I also want to get involved in community events and issues, particularly those that will affect my community or the children and families I work with in my day job.
I love my job and this is a great way of fitting in something else I’m passionate about as well. I expect to do most of my volunteering at the weekends, and during the school holidays I hope I’ll be able to contribute significantly more.
Although the hours can be anti-social and the training does take commitment, I really would encourage people to think about joining if policing is something you’re passionate about.
SC Simon Petch is one of our newest Special Constables. Simon is a Deputy Headteacher and hopes to fit his volunteering in around his day job. He was encouraged to join the Specials after his school started working with officers as part of the Junior Police Squad programme.