'Special constables give valuable service'
Column by county and district councillor Ray Wootten
It was Winston Churchill who said, ‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen’.
Those words remind every police officer as they walk the beat that listening to the community is just as important as using the rule of law. Policing by consent has been the backbone of our way of life over the centuries.
Alfred the Great wanted to ensure that having expelled the Norse invaders that life should remain peaceful and, he appointed a shire reeve for each county who was responsible for maintaining the peace.
British Police charts it development from the Anglo Saxon reeves to today’s 21 st century ‘Blunkett’s Bobbies’.
Lincolnshire, like many other counties has reduced its establishment of PCSOs (police community support officers) from 250 to 85. Although a valuable source of local policing an area which is often forgotten is the role of the Special Constabulary.
Attested constables have the power of arrest and give unpaid service in support of the uniformed police. Officers of the Special Constabulary are a welcome addition on a weekend and provide a valuable service, usually giving between four and eight hours a week to the police and the community that they serve.
When I served in Bedfordshire Police I always appreciated that familiar face coming on duty that was well trained and keen to assist me and my colleagues.
The ‘Special Constable Act’ 1831 empowered magistrates to appoint a number of special constables they deemed necessary to control a crowd to prevent tumult or riot.
Throughout history they have helped the regular force and in 1887 helped control disturbances in Trafalgar Square that led to the Bloody Sunday riots.
Today’s volunteers come from all walks of life, providing a service to the community, wearing the uniform with pride, knowing that they are as valued today as they always have been throughout history.
Anyone who volunteers their service for the good of the community should be applauded and truly appreciated.
For information on joining the Special Constabulary, call 01522 558235 or email firstname.lastname@example.org