When did you join Merseyside Police as a Special Constable?
I have been a Special Constable for 39 years,16 of which as a Chief inspector for the Wirral area of Merseyside.
I used to be a Machine Woodworking Lecturer in a Further Education College for 35 years before I decided to retire at 60. I now work part time in B&Q as a customer advisor in the Building/Hardware Department where I can advise customers on all aspects of DIY. I am also the ‘Peoples Forum’ representative for my store and for 21 other stores in the North West Region.
I spend a lot of my time in Liverpool John Moores University at careers fairs, volunteering fairs and giving students mock interviews representing Merseyside police.
I am also actively involved with the new special recruitment days were the new applicants have their biometrics taken, take part in a group discussion, an individual assessment and complete the fitness test (Bleep Test)
What was your motivation for becoming a Special Constable?
I decided to join the Specials because when I was 16, I tried to join the cadets but failed the eyesight test. As the cadets were not allowed to wear glasses back then I was told to re-apply for the regulars later down the line, but I decided to complete an apprenticeship instead.
Some years later I saw an advertisement for the Special Constabulary and decided to apply to see what being a police officer was like and to help the community where I live. I believe I now have the best of both worlds as I really enjoy helping people and passing on my knowledge to new recruits.
What has been your most memorable moment?
When I was on duty for the 1997 Aintree Grand National which was evacuated due to a bomb scare. I completed a 22-hour shift on the Saturday and a 13-hour shift on the Sunday so a long weekend but definitely something different and one I will remember.
Would you recommend joining the specials to anyone who was considering it?
I would certainly recommend joining the Specials as it is a great way to help the community and support the police. It is a very rewarding public service where you can encounter various incidents to stretch your skills and knowledge.
I would also advise anyone if they are considering joining the regular force in the future as it will give you a taste of what it is like so you can decide if it is for you.
Have you learned any transferable skills that you have been able to use in either your role as a special or in your regular career role?
The transferable skills I have gained are communication and learning how to deal with conflict and being firm but fair to help de-escalate a situation. I have also improved my leadership skills including how to delegate when necessary.
My confidence has certainly improved since becoming a special which has also helped me in my teaching career. I have been able to give advice to victims of crime regarding home security and repairs from a break in.
Best thing about being a Special
The best thing is being able to give something back to the community by helping people in their time of need. I believe being a special you can perform a valuable voluntary role at a time that suits you and have a career at the same time.