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Devon & Cornwall Police
Special Constable – FAQ’s

What is a Special Constable?
Special Constables (or "Specials") are volunteer police officers with the same power as regular officers. Specials spend around four hours a week supporting the police to tackle crime in their communities. They work in partnership with regular officers and the wider policing family.
What powers will I have as a Special Constable?
Special's have full policing powers, unlike PCSOs or police support volunteers.
What do Special Constables do?
Specials take part in frontline policing work. They can spend much of their time on the streets doing intelligence-based patrols in crime hotspots, or, taking part in crime-prevention initiatives. This could mean anything from keeping town centres safe at night, to conducting house-to-house enquiries or helping prevent vulnerable members of the community from becoming victims of crime.

It is hard, demanding work - but from your first day on duty you will see the impact you are having. It is also extremely varied and you could easily find yourself doing any of the following;
  • Ensuring public safety
  • Preventing crime
  • Tackling crime
  • Investigating crime
  • Securing convictions
Do I get paid for being a Special?
Although they are not paid, Specials are provided with uniforms free of charge and are entitled to be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses.
You can apply for the Special Constabulary if you are over the age of 18. There is no upper age limit for applying but following legislative changes that were introduced on 5 April 2011 the compulsory age for retirement will remain at 60 with the potential for an extension to 65 with permission and if the individual is physically fit.
You must be a British citizen, an EC/EEA national or a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national with no restrictions on your stay in the United Kingdom and have been resident in the UK for three years.
There are no height restrictions.
You must be physically fit and in good health and will undertake a fitness and swimming assessment. All candidates will complete a medical questionnaire and may be required to undertake a medical assessment.

All candidates will be subject to a pre-employment drugs test.
You must have good unaided vision, not suffer from any morbid eye conditions or any condition liable to aggravation or reoccurrence and meet the national eyesight standards.

Severe colour vision deficiencies (monochromats) are not acceptable. However, other defects in colour vision will not be a bar to entry.

All candidates will be asked to provide proof of eyesight testing 12 months prior to appointment.
Tattoos on the face or neck are not acceptable for special constables, and any tattoos which could cause offence to any person will exclude you from applying. However all applicants will be assessed on an individual basis.

Candidates are requested to submit a colour photograph of all tattoos with their application.
Criminal record
Convictions or cautions will not necessarily prevent you from joining. It will depend on the nature and circumstances of the offence. Your application may be terminated if you fail to disclose any convictions or cautions.

We also have a policy of prohibiting any of our officers, staff and volunteers from becoming members of the BNP or similar organisations whose aims or pronouncements may contradict the duty to promote race equality.
Financial vetting
Applicants to the police service should not be under pressure from undischarged debts or liabilities and should be able to manage loans and debts sensibly to avoid making themselves vulnerable to corruption.

Applicants who have County Court Judgements that have been satisfied may be considered.

Applicants who have been registered as bankrupt but their bankruptcy debts have been discharged will only be considered after three years from discharge of the debt.

Applicants who have existing County Court Judgements outstanding against them or who have been registered bankrupt and their bankruptcy debts have not been discharged will NOT be considered
Physical and learning disabilities
We welcome applications from people with disabilities and will do all we can, within medical and fitness restrictions, to make reasonable adjustments which will allow disabled applicants to undertake the role of a special constable.

Please let us know if you have a disability and the type of adjustment which you might need to enable you to apply for and do the job.
Ineligible occupations
Business interests and current employment must be declared to ensure they do not conflict with Force policy.

Some areas of employment are incompatible with the office of special constable as they may conflict with the duties and requirements performed by our officers and staff.

Applicants within the following occupations ineligible to join the Special Constabulary:

  • Magistrates
  • Clerks to the justices
  • Clerks to the courts
  • Highways agency traffic officers
  • Civil enforcement officers
  • Neighbourhood and street wardens
  • Serving armed forces personnel
  • Crown Prosecution Service employees
  • Immigration officers
  • Members of a police force maintained by a commercial organisation or private company
  • Licensees of betting and gaming establishments
  • Working in a licensed premises (for example, waiting staff in a restaurant or public house)
  • Lottery promoters
  • Bailiffs
  • Members of private security organisations
  • Private detectives and enquiry agents
  • School crossing patrollers

This list is not exhaustive and there may be other exceptions which arise.
Other occupations will be considered subject to the agreement of their employer and the Chief Constable:
  • Fire service personnel
  • Armed services reserve personnel
  • Members of the medical and health professions

Other occupations where eligibility should be carefully scrutinised by the Chief Constable include:
  • Holders (and their partners) of licensed premises
  • Working in a licensed premises (for example, waiting staff in a restaurant or public house)
  • Probation officers, youth and social workers involved in the administration of criminal law
  • Bailiffs, warrant officers, private investigators and inquiry officers

f you have any queries please contact People Services Centre (Resourcing) on 01392 452020 or email specials recruitment
If I am injured on duty am I ensured?
Yes, you would be covered by Devon & Cornwall Police's insurance if you were injured on duty as a Special Constable.
Driving licence
You no longer require a driving licence to become a Special Constable.
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