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Specials save county police over £2m in the year

Monday, 14th May 2012.

Suffolk’s team of Special Constabulary officers have shown their dedication to the county by clocking up almost 95,000 hours during the past year.

If paid police officers were covering the 94,855 hours of duty, this would equate to approximately £2.1m in police officer pay.

There are currently 303 Specials volunteers in Suffolk, whose job it is to assist the regular police force in meeting the policing needs of the community.

One of those officers is Special Constable Barry Harman, who is based at Ipswich. He completed 900 hours of duty - equal to over £20,000 in pay.

Barry, who works for British Telecom at Martlesham, has been a Special since 2007. He said: "At school I always considered a career in the police service, but after university I sought graduate employment with BT.

"I thought by joining the Specials it would give me a chance to see what the police service had to offer first hand and provide me with greater life experience."

He said there were two things he particularly enjoyed about the role: "Firstly, being part of my team of regular colleagues as all my close friends are in the service. I’m from Scotland and it has been brilliant for me socially.

"I also enjoy being out interacting with and helping members of the public from all walks of life. I have been fortunate to have substantial training and responsibility and I enjoy this trust."

BT is part of the Employer Supported Policing Scheme, which means Barry is released from his job for ten days a year to carry out his policing duties.

"Although I commit a lot of my own time, my role at BT provides me two forms of additional help - flexible working hours help me fit in my duties as a Special, but also ten days' paid leave for the purpose of volunteering.

" I like to think I am an organised person. It's a big commitment being a Special, however for me personally I always think the more you put in the more you get out. Being a Special is now just part of my life and is balanced between my day job, my social life and the requirements of my team."

Chief Supt David Skevington said: "The figure of almost 95,000 hours is an astonishing amount and I, on behalf of the constabulary, thank the Specials for all they do.

"The Specials are an integral part of the policing family and they are heavily involved in all aspects of work. When you consider that many of these volunteers have to balance full time work and family commitments as well, their achievements cannot be underestimated.

"While not every Special is fortunate to be in the position of SC Harman who is granted days where he can focus on policing, every Special officer’s contribution is very much appreciated, as is the support from those employers who allow their staff time to volunteer with us."

Special Deputy Chief Officer Dean Knight added: "I am immensely proud that Suffolk’s Specials have given almost 95,000 hours of service.

"The fact they are unpaid volunteers, coming out in all weathers and conditions, demonstrates what an immense contribution they make. The professionalism and commitment each officer shows is a credit to the Special Constabulary. We cannot thank them enough.

"Being a Special is a very rewarding, fulfilling and interesting role where no two duties are the same. Suffolk is always on the look-out for committed individuals who are keen to experience the world of policing while supporting their local community."

The Special Constabulary take on a number of roles alongside their regular colleagues, ranging from providing high-visibility patrols and helping police major incidents and events such as Ipswich Town football matches and the Lowestoft Air Show, to more specialised work such as licensing, search and entry, roads policing and public order policing.

Suffolk Constabulary is recruiting Special Constables. Further details can be obtained by visiting your nearest Specials information evening, which is on Monday, May 28, at the Best Western Hotel in Moulton Road, Newmarket.

Haverhill Online News

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