Could you spot the difference between a Police Constable and a Special Constable? No? Well you wouldn’t be alone.
Special constables have exactly the same police powers as regular officers, wear the same uniform, use the same equipment and do the same job.
In Abergavenny and throughout the rest of Gwent Police, Special Constables work alongside regular police officers – the only difference being that Specials are volunteers who give up their time to help solve crime and tackle community issues.
We spoke to two of our Special Constables in Abergavenny, Danielle Vaughan and Mark Higgs to find out a bit more about their role.
Mark, 26 and Danielle, 21 have both worked in Abergavenny for the majority of their career as Special Constables with Danielle joining in 2011 and Mark joining in 2007. To join as a Special isn’t an easy process. Mark explained, ‘We both had to complete an application form, undergo tests and go to an assessment centre which included an interview. We then had to undergo a 3 month training course on law and were then tutored at our stations before being signed off as competent Special constables. Because we have the same responsibilities and powers as regular officers, we need to be capable.’
Danielle said, ‘We regularly patrol the town centre and work with pub door staff to check on anti-social behaviour and drug use. We also patrol the rural areas of Abergavenny and have been involved in poaching and rural crime operations such as tackling the theft of farm equipment and machinery.
‘We also both work, when needed, for events such as large scale football matches, festivals and concerts. We make sure that everyone behaves appropriately and we are on hand in case any issues arise.’
Both Danielle and Mark have full time jobs outside of their Specials role. Danielle works in her local Post Office and Mark works for the Ambulance Service. Mark said, ‘It can be difficult to juggle both jobs but it’s definitely worth it. We both try to work at least one 12 hour shift each week, which tends to be on the weekend when officers are busiest.’
Mark added, ‘I love it that we can be the first people on the scene, when members of the community need help the most. We have a chance to really help people, no two days are the same and our job is never boring!’
When asked about the future, Danielle and Mark are confident that they know what they want for the future, ‘We would both love to join Gwent Police as regular officers and the work we do as a Special is great experience. We would also both like to specialise and work for the Roads Policing Unit – we love cars and have previously been involved in Seatbelt and mobile phone safety campaigns.’
Inspector Roland Giles from Abergavenny Station added, ‘The Special Constabulary offer great assistance to us in our aim of protecting and reassuring the people of Gwent. They are all unpaid volunteers who use their free time to help the community in what can be a demanding and challenging role. I greatly appreciate their efforts and the positive impact they have.’
We are not currently recruiting for the role of Special Constable but future campaigns will be posted to our website www.gwent.police.uk