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Dorset Police
Special Constable – FAQ’s

Eligibility

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.
Age
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.
Nationality
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.
Height
There are no height restrictions.
Health
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.
Vision
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
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 ti 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
  • 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
  • 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

FAQs

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.
How long will the recruitment process take?
Every application is different dependent on the amount of references and checks that need to be carried out but it should generally take around six months. The recruitment process can be delayed by not providing complete and accurate information on your application form.
What powers will I have as a Special?
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?
Although they are not paid, Specials are provided with uniforms free of charge and are entitled to be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses.
What references will be taken up?
It is Dorset Police's current recruitment policy to obtain both current and previous employment and full-time education references for the last five years. If you have limited employment references we will also take up personal references. All references state you are applying to be a Special Constable.
Do I need specific qualifications to apply to become a Special Constable?
No, you will need to pass the national assessment process but no formal qualifications are required. As a Special Constable you will be required to produce a high standard of written work for reports and statements etc. Your spelling, grammar and legibility should be of an adequate standard to ensure effective written communication.
Is there any physical assessment?
Yes, you will be required to pass a job related fitness test as part of the recruitment process. The purpose of the test is to ensure you are fit to undertake the officer safety training and role of a Special Constable.
If I can't attend the training dates is there any flexibility?
There is some flexibility with the training but this may delay you performing operational duties. If there is a specific training date you are unable to attend, alternative arrangements will be made.
During the training are there any assessments/tests/exams?
There is only one written exam, which forms part of the self-defense training. There are no other formal exams, however you will be required to complete knowledge check papers on every course. These are not pass or fail papers but are used to see if there are any developmental areas where additional training may be required. During your training some homework will be given and you will be expected to do some reading in your spare time. Student notes are also given out after every training session for you to keep.
Can I choose where I work?
You will be asked during your training which three stations you would prefer to be based at and it is very likely you will receive one of your three options. However, Special Constables will be posted to where the demand for increased resources is required.
If I live outside the Dorset area where will I be posted?
As above.

However, before applying you should firstly consider how far you would have to travel to reach the Dorset boundary, as travel expenses will not be paid for outside of the Force area. If you consider this to be too far perhaps you should consider applying to your local Special Constabulary.

Am I a Special Constable 24 hours per day, 7 days a week?
Once you have taken the oath you hold the office of Constable until you leave the post, however you will only be expected to use those powers when booked on duty. In exceptional circumstances those powers may be lawfully used when off duty and the correct procedure for doing this will be explained during training.
Where would I store my uniform?
Normally you would store your uniform at your designated police station. Special Constables are only expected to take their uniform home if locker space cannot be provided at their designated police station.
Can I work more than four hours a week?
Yes, you can work as many hours as reasonably possible allowing for work and home commitments. Consideration should also be given to the Working Time Directive to ensure Health and Safety compliance. It is suggested that you confirm your availability two weeks in advance. You will probably find, as most Specials do, that you will establish a regular working pattern. You can choose to work during the week, during the weekend or both. You can also choose to work during the day, afternoon or evening.
Will I be involved in any operations?
Yes, as a Special Constable you are an important resource and therefore will be utilised in many ways, which may include your involvement in local operations and force initiatives.
Will I have to go to court?
Should you make an arrest as a Special Constable and the case is later taken to court you may have to attend court to either give evidence or to be a witness. You will be entitled to any loss of earnings you may incur due to a court appearance.
Will I recieve any allowances?
Yes, travel to and from your posted police station will be paid for as well as any other travel expenses made by yourself whilst on duty. If you live outside the force boundary travel costs can only be claimed from the point of entry to the force area. A refreshment allowance is also paid, this is dependent on the number of hours in any given tour of duty.
Would I be insured if I was injured on duty?
Yes, you would be covered by Dorset’s insurance if you were injured whilst on duty as a Special Constable.
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