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Special Chief Inspector Clive Payne

Special Chief Inspector Clive Payne has served with West Mercia Police Special Constabulary since 2002 and as he prepares to retire at the end of July 2017, he looks back at his time as a Special Constable.

Special Chief Inspector Clive Payne at Redditch Police Station
Special Chief Inspector Clive Payne at Redditch Police Station
What motivated Clive to become a Special Constable in the first place? "At the time I wanted to be a magistrate, and my day job manager was supportive," he said, "but the commitment needed would have had too much impact on my day job, so my manager suggested that I become a Special Constable."

"I sent off for the recruitment packs for a couple of forces but felt that the training programme outlined in the West Mercia pack was superior, so that helped me make my mind up."

When he joined the Special Constabulary, Clive was based at the Redditch South sector office, at the Alexandra Hospital, for the first three years of his career. What were his first impressions when he started on duty? "On my first night I was called to an assistance shout at the Winyates Centre," he recalled. "I wasn't fully dressed when it came in and I quickly learned that it's never a good idea to try and put your police uniform on in the back of a moving police car. By the time we got to the scene the incident had died down and was under control."

"You never know what you're going to. Some people are fearful of the unknown. I'm not and I think you learn by rolling your sleeves up, getting stuck in and having a go and to expect the unexpected."

How have relationships with regular officers changed? "I was mentored by regular officers. They looked after me very well indeed. They developed my skills and I completed my probation within eight months, four months ahead of schedule. I was doing upwards of 50 hours a month and I found it addictive."

In 2005 Clive became a Special Sergeant working out of the Bromsgrove South Sector office at Bromsgrove District Housing Trust. During his six years in that role, he grew the number of Special Constables as part of the police force before becoming a Special Inspector in Redditch in 2011, which he felt was 'home' for him.

As a Special Chief Inspector since 2013, what does Clive see as his responsibilities and priorities? "I manage the operational effectiveness of 95 officers and ten supervisors," he said. "I cascade alliance directives, support the regulars and the public, manage the officers and supervisors and ensure that they are sufficiently trained."

Special Chief Inspector Clive Payne
Special Chief Inspector Clive Payne
Away from the Special Constabulary, Clive has worked as a pensions administrator for a team of financial advisers for the last four years. The two roles have complemented each other, with Clive's skills benefitting both organisations.

How has the Special Constabulary changed during Clive's service? "It has changed particularly in the last six-to-seven years because of the increasing reliance on the Special Constabulary. The training Special Constables receive has greatly improved, it's a million times better and more in-depth."

"Being a Special Constable is a big commitment. Regular officers rely on us and thankfully there are a lot more of us now. When shifts have a demand, they welcome and look after us and we are used in the most effective ways by regular officers and the Control Room as well."

How do the public perceive Special Constables these days? "I don't think they make a distinction. When you go to a job, you are expected to deal with the issue. The public don't care about the individual, they just see the uniform," Clive said. "I've never experienced any physical abuse from the public other than the odd 'tussle', but unfortunately I have been spat at."

What does he see as the priorities facing the Special Constabulary? "I think we need to look at recruiting from older, more experienced sections of the community so we can develop supervisors for the future. This would help not only us but also the individuals in their day jobs too." He continued, "Another challenge is to retain our officers because there is so much natural attrition with Special Constables going in to the regulars. This would help us bridge the gap between newcomers and the more experienced officers".

Would Clive recommend that people volunteer to be Special Constables? "Undoubtedly. It improves and develops you as a person, you find things out about yourself and you learn what you can achieve."

What have been the highlights of his career? "Having tea with Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra when she officially opened Bromsgrove Police and Fire Station in 2014, and spending an afternoon with Simon Weston, the Falklands War veteran, at a Help for Heroes event at Hindlip Hall in 2009. He was very interesting to talk to and a sincere gentleman."

"One of the things that stays with me is trying to protect a lady in the A & E department at the Alexandra Hospital who was about to be sectioned. She would only trust me and I spent a whole Sunday evening in the hospital trying to get her in to Hillcrest, the adult acute admissions ward at the hospital. She would only listen and respond to me."

Looking back on his time with the Special Constabulary, Clive said: "You meet nice people - staff and colleagues are lovely. The experience broadens your horizons and you have to be open and embrace the opportunities it provides you with".

"If you want to do something enough in life, do it. You only have one crack at it... and expect the unexpected!"