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Frequently asked questions

This section contains frequently asked questions about Special Constables.

  • Q:

    Does being a Special Constable help me to become a police officer?

    A:

    Being a Special Constable enables officers to experience all aspects of police work and gain a wealth of professional knowledge. While time served as a Special Constable will not guarantee a position as a regular officer, it gives an insight into the service and will help applicants meet the criteria and gain the attributes needed to become a police officer. Special Constables serve our communities, gaining first-hand experience of the job and building up knowledge that will help with officers' applications to become a regular police officer or Police Community Support Officer (PCSO).

  • Q:

    Do Special Constables receive continuous professional training?

    A:

    Yes, once they have completed the initial training course, further training will be delivered as required to ensure that officers are always up to date with current laws, legislation and procedural matters. During their first year Special Constables will also work towards Independent Patrol Status, with the help of a mentor.

  • Q:

    Can Special Constables get promoted?

    A:

    Yes, The Special Constabulary has a rank structure and through promotion officers could become a Special Sergeant, Special Inspector, Special Chief Inspector, Special Deputy Chief Officer or Special Chief Officer. Each rank progression brings extra responsibility as with the regular service.

  • Q:

    Are Special Constables entitled to receive expenses?

    A:

    Special Constables are volunteers and are not paid for performing the role. However, they are provided with uniforms free of charge and are entitled to be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses. Travel expenses within the force area that are incurred during duties as a Special Constable are paid at a rate per mile or by submitting public transport tickets. Taxis fares are not included.

  • Q:

    How many hours do Special Constables have to volunteer?

    A:

    We ask that Special Constables volunteer for a minimum of 16 hours per month. Most police forces expect members of their Special Constabularies to perform around four hours duty per week.

  • Q:

    Can Special Constables choose where they work?

    A:

    We will take into account where officers live and try to accommodate their requests. In most cases this is achieved, however deployment depends on operational need and Special Constables will be required to serve anywhere across the West Mercia policing area, as would a police officer.

  • Q:

    Do Special Constables have the same authority as regular officers?

    A:

    Special Constables have the same powers of arrest as a regular police officer. They also wear the same uniform, which is provided for them.

  • Q:

    What age limits are there for Special Constables?

    A:

    Candidates must be at least 18 years old at the time of their application. There is no upper age limit for appointment to the Special Constabulary, however all applicants are tested to ensure they are physically fit enough to perform the role.

  • Q:

    Can non-UK citizens be appointed as Special Constables?

    A:

    To be eligible for appointment as a Special Constable, applicants should be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland. If the candidate is not a national of an EEA member state or Switzerland, they must have permission to enter, or have leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period. All applicants must be resident in the UK, free of restrictions, or have an entitlement to do so.

  • Q:

    Can Special Constables hold political office or take part in politics?

    A:

    The position regarding Special Constables in Home Office police forces is that they should not take an active part in politics.

  • Q:

    If a candidate, or one of their family, has a criminal record, can this prevent the applicant becoming a Special Constable?

    A:

    Convictions or cautions will not necessarily prevent applicants from being appointed. It will depend on the nature and circumstances of the offence. However, applications will be terminated if candidates fail to disclose convictions or cautions.

  • Q:

    Can Special Constables use Tasers or firearms?

    A:

    The agreed view of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) is that Special Constables will not be issued with Tasers or firearms.

  • Q:

    Are Special Constables covered by police disciplinary measures?

    A:

    Special Constables are subject to the same 'code of ethics' policy as regular police officers. Arrangements for police misconduct and unsatisfactory performance proceedings are kept under continuous review by the College of Policing.

  • Q:

    Should candidates tell their employer about their application to the Special Constabulary?

    A:

    Yes. There are benefits for employers too in terms of developing new skills that are transferable to the employee's full-time occupation. See also our Employee Supported Policing page.

  • Q:

    Can employers be compelled to release their employees to perform duties as Special Constables?

    A:

    As Special Constables are volunteers, they cannot be compelled by law to report for duty.