08 Feb 2018

A VOLUNTEER chief inspector has described joining the Dyfed-Powys Police Special Constabulary as the best thing he ever did.

Nine years ago, Specials Chief Inspector Chris Evans took the plunge and applied to become a Special Constable – and he hasn’t looked back. Now he’s encouraging people to apply as the force opens recruitment on Monday, February 5.

Specials are volunteer police officers who have the same powers as regular officers. They go on foot and car patrol, can be sent to incidents ranging from antisocial behaviour and criminal damage, to public disorder and assaults, and have the power of arrest. The only difference between Specials and regular officers is that the time they give to the force – a minimum of 16 hours a month – is voluntary.

SCI Evans started his Specials career in Pembrokeshire, and has worked his way up to Special Chief Inspector. He now takes responsibility for a team of inspectors across the four business command units. His role is to ensure they are working in line with force priorities and following the Police and Crime Commissioner’s plan.

SCI Evans volunteers around 30 hours each month but says he will never forget his first shift.

“I arrested someone in Haverfordwest for arson with intent to endanger life,” he said. “I didn’t expect to make an arrest on my very first shift, but you just don’t know what’s going to happen.

“That’s part of what’s so amazing about the role – it’s so unexpected.”

SCI Evans was encouraged by his partner – a police officer – to apply to become a Special, and said it was the difference between the role and his regular job that made him apply. This is a common reason among Specials, who come from all walks of life and have day jobs ranging from teacher and theatre marketing manager to emergency call handler and forensic vehicle examiner.

“There were a few reasons why I applied, but the main one was that it was something so different to my job,” he said. “I was working in the control room of an oil refinery, which is so far from being a police officer. I decided to give it a go and I’ve never looked back.”

Recruitment for Special Constables is open from Monday, February 5 to Wednesday, March 7, and SCI Evans has urged anyone thinking about applying to just go for it.

“I would encourage people to apply in a heartbeat,” he said.

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It opens so many avenues and you learn so much about people that you could never learn anywhere else.

“There’s no other job like it.”

Applicants must submit a written application form, pass a medical and vetting and fitness test. They then go through seven weekends of initial training, which covers aspects of law, personal safety training, restraint techniques, conflict management, role play scenarios, training on force systems, dealing with antisocial behaviour, stop search and standard search procedures.

This is followed up by divisional training once a month on their respective divisions where their knowledge is built upon. They start work books as soon as they come in and follow these through to completion on division – once they have completed their workbooks and have had them signed off they achieve independent patrol status.  

Follow @DPPSpecials on Twitter, Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police on Facebook, or visit https://www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/en/join-the-police/special-constables/ for information on applying.

*If you’re interested in applying but would like to find out more before taking the plunge, email Citizens in Policing Coordinator Adele Jones on volunteers@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk