Chief superintendent of police praises hard work of Special Constables
THE new chief superintendent of police in North East Lincolnshire has praised the vital and increasing role of Special Constables.
The squad of dedicated and trained volunteers is now providing nearly twice as many hours on the beat than it did three years ago.
Specials have been drafted into more operations to ease the pressure on regular police officers.
Chief Superintendent Tony Forbes recalled how the volunteer force with Humberside Police was among the first in the country to receive a "bounty" reward for its dedication to serving the public.
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Mr Forbes said it was a testament to their loyalty and commitment that the Specials continued their service for free, when a financial reward first introduced in 2002 was removed in the face of the cutbacks in the force.
"The effort they put in still is amazing," he said.
He is in charge of about 110 Specials on the south bank as the divisional commander for both North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire.
He said the average Special in North East Lincolnshire dedicates about 30 to 35 hours per month, while the national average is half that.
Mr Forbes said: "We are given double the national requirement by them, which is tremendous.
"We give them more interesting things to do with more tasks and possible lists of arrests to make, as well as making it enjoyable."
A team of Specials recently accompanied UK Border Agency officers on raids on Grimsby and Immingham restaurants and takeaways in search for illegal immigrants. As reported, two were found.
Special Constable Donna Knights said: "This has given me an appreciation of how busy the police are.
"When you have gone through all the training, you are not just a Special, you are a police officer. We train for four months and a PC has 24 weeks of training. I have a family and a full-time job, but I always make sure I am available."
Donna said she loved the variety of the duties and roles involved with being a Special, and enjoyed working with other agencies, such as the UK Border Agency, The Territorial Army and licensing authorities.
She added: "The best bit is locking up the bad people."
Special Sergeant Carl Bee told how Specials played a role in the annual Cleethorpes Carnival and other major events to safeguard the public.
He said: "It is a nice side to the job. I like helping old ladies. We are trying to improve the public perception of the police all the time."