Since being a special constable I’ve been able to see what I’m capable of

Kirsty is a mum of two and joined Bedfordshire Police as a special constable to help make Bedfordshire safe for her young children.

I have lived in Bedfordshire my whole life. I have had some difficult personal life experiences and wanted to be able to turn those negative experiences into something positive through volunteering as an officer. To be able to help others who might have experienced something similar to me and those who are in need of support is important to me.

I wanted to help make Bedfordshire a safer place for my children to grow up in and for fellow residents

I work part time for my husband’s electrical contracting company doing general admin duties and he is very supportive of my volunteering, I am very lucky! To become a special constable I enrolled on the three week intensive course which consisted of theory, practical elements, personal safety training and first aid training. There was a lot to learn but it was exciting, engaging and enjoyable. It included everything I needed to become fully operational.

Since attesting there have been ongoing opportunities for further training, some optional and some mandatory.

I chose to go on the three week intense training course because it was run during the summer holidays. I took annual leave and booked my children in to holiday clubs.

It was a challenge to juggle everything but I just had to ensure I was highly organised.

I also made sure that at the end of each day I had a couple hours of down time to spend with my family to keep a healthy work/life balance.

The home preparation was challenging. I had to force myself to have a disciplined approach to completing evening studies. It was very tempting to get home and put my feet up for the rest of the night!

I really loved doing the training and found that if I focused on studying in the evening I absorbed all the information I needed, which put me at an advantage for the next training day.

In uniform

I soon got into a good routine and was so passionate on achieving my end goal that nothing was going to phase me!

I’m not going to lie, it was very intensive!! But it was honestly one of my best times of my life. I loved going back through the learning process and with it being three solid weeks I made some amazing friends.

We all felt the intensity of the course at times but we all came together and spurred one another on. We developed good relationships with the trainers and because we were in that environment every day we were constantly absorbing information which we were then able to test each other on over the following days.

Personally, I found it more convenient. With it being three solid weeks it means you get consistency and you fall into a good learning routine.

Being able to make a difference to a person’s life is what I really thrive upon

I absolutely love being a special constable. Putting on the uniform and going out to support people, fight crime and make Bedfordshire a safer place gives me a huge sense of fulfilment and pride.

I have really enjoyed everything so far, from the training to becoming part of a supportive and friendly team where we combat crime together.

A couple of my most memorable moments have been locating a missing child and helping a suicidal person get the immediate help and support they needed.

I love being a special and working with the local community

I have been involved in multiple warrants, policing for the night time economy and events like football matches, Remembrance Day and the Christmas lights switch on.

It’s a great feeling when people come up to you to thank you for the job you do and the feeling you get when you get home and know that you have made a real difference to somebody today.

I have been able to see what I’m really capable of

I have increased my self-confidence through the difference challenges I have pushed myself to do.

I have found that being a special constable is effective at rebalancing your sense of perspective. It’s helped me step back in certain situations and re-evaluate my approach to things in life.

One of my favourite things I’ve been involved in was the Millwall vs Luton football match! I also love going out with response because of the variety of jobs we have to deal with.

Take the plunge and apply to be a special constable!

You won’t have any regrets. I am very happy with the choice I made. Being a special is rewarding, exciting and fulfilling.

It will change your life and others, for the better.

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31-year-old Kirsty Allen joined Bedfordshire Police as a special in August 2019 after completing the three week intensive training course.

If you would like to gain new skills, grow as a person and see a side of yourself you didn’t know you had, apply at www.bedfordshire.police.uk/careers.

 

 

I had always wanted to be a police officer, now I’m one in my spare time

Jonathan Behan, known as Jon, volunteers as a Special Constable with Bedfordshire Police alongside his day-job in insurance.

I had always wanted to be a police officer.

At the age of 13, I can remember running to the back door looking at all the police cars going past the house with their blue lights and sirens on.

At the age of 15, I did two weeks work experience with Bedfordshire Police based at Luton. This was during the July 2005 bombings which opened my eyes up to the work that police do. I quickly realised it’s not all about fast cars and flashing lights, it’s about helping people in a time of crisis.

A little while after my work experience I attended a career day at my local police headquarters and spoke to a few members of staff. They advised it would be best to get some life experience behind me then apply when I am older. Life took over at 22 and I had my first child. I then took a step away from pursuing my career with the police to concentrate on my family.

I am now the grand old age of 30 and currently work for a large insurance company dealing with personal injuries. I joined Bedfordshire Police as a Special Constable in July 2019 and am currently based in the South which covers Luton, Dunstable and Leighton Buzzard.

Taking the first step – I applied for the Special Constable role through the Bedfordshire Police website.

I got through the application process! I decided to choose a three week intensive course with additional training for eight Mondays after attestation (graduation).

The initial three weeks intensive training included personal safety training, cell extraction and handcuffing, along with practical situation training including role plays and a lot of classroom training on law and professional behaviours. During our evening sessions, we learnt more about law, decision making and how to spot vulnerable victims. We also had to do a lot of homework, including online training.

Being a Special means the world to me.

My children are proud that their father has become a volunteer police officer. It also gives me a sense of pride knowing that I can make a real difference to people I interact with. I love the variety of the role and the people you work with.

Although I have not been a Special for long, one of my favourite moments of becoming a Special was the day we attested. It was a long day with our final test and role plays but seeing my family over the moon that their dad, son, brother and partner managed to achieve a goal that he worked hard for meant a lot to me.

I was part of a cohort of 14 and at times some of us struggled with the learning phase, however, my cohort came together to help and everyone achieve the end goal of being sworn in by the magistrate.

I couldn’t have done it without the support of my cohort and family.

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As a Special, you get some flexibility to choose what you would like to do.

One day I could be working a road block as part of an operation, the next day I could be helping the local community teams establish good working relationships with their communities.

I also enjoy attending 999 calls with the response teams. You could be dealing with a domestic related incident one minute and the next you could attend an armed robbery.

When you put that uniform on, you become the face of Bedfordshire Police and people young and old do look up to you. When I go out, I try to engage with people as much as I can to ensure that any perceptions of the police they may have can be changed for the better.

The role of a Special is very broad and no two shifts are ever the same and I feel I am helping make a difference.

I have learnt how to be assertive but remain focused on the end goal.

I’ve also learnt that no two situations are the same and an open mind is essential when approaching any situation in order for us to gain all the necessary information and facts. I have been using these new skills lot on my two sons, who do love having a fight with each other, and found that the fighting has now calmed down, which is a relief for their mother!

The most important skill I’ve gained, without a doubt, is to remain positive and focused. No matter how tough the situation gets, if you remain focused and positive, you can walk away knowing you have done all you can to resolve the situation.

I have gained a lot of skills that help me day to day. One of the main skills I have learnt is how to calm down a situation and work with someone to achieve an end result. I have managed to transfer this skill over to my day to day work and have actually seen an improvement.

I have also learnt how to fully adapt my approach to specific situations to ensure that people I deal with can walk away knowing they have been treated with respect.

Bedfordshire Police has quickly become my extended family.

Everyone I have dealt with from recruitment all the way through to Inspectors have been nothing but supportive and understanding. Everyone looks out for one another. Every day is a school day and regardless of being new or a 20 year veteran, you will always learn something new.

Although my work does not support the Employer Supported Policing programme, they have been very flexible in allowing me time off to attend training and targeted operations. The ESP programme allows more people the flexibility to volunteer with the police and in return gain invaluable skills that can be transferred back into their working environment.

If you are thinking of applying to become a Special, do some homework and see if the role is for you. If it is, then do it.

If you would like to find out more about the role of a special constable and apply click here.

“I thought I’d never be able to fulfil this dream…”

I wanted to be involved with the police from a young age – my uncle was a police driver in Northumbria and often when we visited he’d show us the police cars which I found really exciting.

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.

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