West Yorkshire Police has stepped up its commitment to recruit more special constables.

The force plans to increase the number of specials serving the county to 1,500 by May 2016.

And Kirklees Chief Superintendent Tim Kingsman said the new recruits – who have the same powers and responsibility police but but do not receive a salary – will not replace regular paid officers.

Across West Yorkshire there are already 420 special constables who each volunteer at least 16 hours a month.

Kirklees already has one of the highest number of special constables or ‘specials’ as they are known in the force.

Mr Kingsman said: “Special constables do a fantastic job and support full-time officers and provide additional resources particularly during times of significant financial challenges.”

The latest specials recruitment drive was run alongside National Specials Weekend, which and saw 164 special constables work almost 2,000 hours helping to make communities across West Yorkshire safer and feel safer.

Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson said: “Special constables have a vital role to play within frontline policing and it is essential we continue recruiting valuable members of the community who go on to develop into outstanding officers.

“I have pledged to involve the community through volunteering opportunities and this recruitment campaign for special constables is one I hope those who want to contribute to community safety will sign up to.

“As the chief constable has said, special constables play an important role in making sure communities are safer and feel safer.

“West Yorkshire Police needs to be representative of the communities we serve and I will personally be out in communities encouraging people to become specials and hopefully go onto be the next generation of police officers.”

Support officers boost force  

Mr Burns-Williamson added: “Special Constables have a vital role to play within policing and it is essential we continue recruiting valuable members of the community who go on to develop into outstanding officers or who just want to make a difference within the community.

“The budget I recently approved included an amount set aside to ensure there will be proper support and training for those who apply.

“I have pledged to involve communities through volunteering opportunities and this recruitment campaign for special constables is an ideal opportunity for people from all walks of life and backgrounds to get involved.

“It’s also really important for employers to recognise the wider benefits of allowing their employees to contribute to community safety and the well-being of a local area. I am keen to explore with them what other skills and specialisms could be used in innovative ways to get the best out of individuals who are interested in signing up.

What are Special Constables?

Special constables have full police powers, uniform and equipment and perform police duties alongside regular officers.

They provide a vital link between the force and the community by assisting in meeting policing needs and helping to increase the level of confidence and satisfaction that the public has in relation to policing.

What do they do?

Special constables are usually attached to Neighbourhood Policing Teams where they perform a wide variety of duties within the community.

This includes patrol, making arrests and dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Specials may also work at football matches and other public events eg galas, and concerts, supporting regular officers in times of emergency, and assist with other matters such as crime prevention, taking crime reports, witness interviews, enquiries, escorts, youth diversion and transport.

Why volunteer?

Joining the specials is an opportunity for personal and professional development.

Undergoing the training and then going out on patrol

Brings excitement and new challenges every day you volunteer.

If you have any questions about becoming a special constable, please call West Yorkshire Police on 01924 292269 or visit www.westyorkshire.police.uk/?Page=325|Special+Constables

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