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The life of a Special Constable in Wiltshire
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Special Constables receive a mileage allowance but not a wage

Wiltshire police are tonight hosting a recruitment evening to attract more volunteer special constables.

The Special Constable Awareness event is taking place at Swindon's Gablecross police station at 1900 GMT.

Specials are trained to the same level as regular police officers and provide additional support, particularly at weekends.

Helen England from Ramsbury is a special and said: "I've been involved with absolutely everything in the job.

"Situations raging from fatal road traffic accidents through to shoplifters, through to football matches, fireworks displays and patrolling the countryside early in the morning.

"I joined initially to to become a regular constable but as the years have progressed I've not actually applied to become a regular officer and prefer being a special constable."


Helen explained that the flexibility of also having a day job contributes to her ongoing satisfaction in her role as a special constable.

"I thoroughly prefer being a special as I enjoy my day job too much and I'd be loathe to leave it," she said.

"I'm quite happy doing what I do and doing something a little bit different at the weekend.

"In the day I work as an Intelligence Developments Officer for Wiltshire Police and that helps my colleagues immensely.

"It helps me understand what my colleagues need to know when they're out on patrol."

It's a job where you will make a lot of friends and get a new outlook on life and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to give it a go
Special Constable Helen England

Helen believes anyone from any walk of life can get a lot out of being a special constable, regardless of their background.

"It's something for everybody, it doesn't matter what your background is - stay-at-home mum, businessman, top-level manager - there's something for everybody."

As the job is voluntary, there is no wage, although special constables do receive a mileage allowance. Also the minimum requirement for weekly hours of working is four, although Helen works between 15-20 hours per week.

She explained that with two young children to look after, having a supportive husband has enabled her to work these extra hours.

"I'm lucky in that I've got a very supportive family which is something you will need," she said.

"My husband is a police officer so understands what I'm going through, and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be able to do it."

Following the recently-announced government spending cuts, Wiltshire Police said last week that between 100 and 200 support workers could be made redundant, and up to 150 officers would not replaced when they leave.

Helen believes that in light of this news, the role of the special constable is more important than it's ever been.

"We've never really been recognised before now and a lot of people don't know what we do or that we even exist," she said. "The specials have been around since the early 1800s, long before the regular constabulary came into existence.

"Now with the budget cuts I think we're actually being recognised for the role that we do and have been doing for many years.

And for those considering applying to become a special constable, Helen advised: "It's a job where you will make a lot of friends and get a new outlook on life and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to give it a go."

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