Special Constables

Standing up for the community

Recruitment for Special Constables is currently open

Hertfordshire Constabulary strives to provide an exceptional policing service to its communities, but we couldn’t do that without the invaluable support of our volunteer team of Special Constables. The Special Constables form a vital presence on our streets and in our force, so volunteering with the team is a real opportunity to give something back to your community.

About the job

Our Special Constables are there to help maintain the law, with all the same duties and powers as regular Police Officers. On any given day, Specials are out on patrol in the community, attending crime scenes, monitoring traffic, and making arrests. Most importantly, the Special Constables act as a safe, reassuring presence for the people of Hertfordshire.

Special Constables come from diverse backgrounds and possess a wide range of skills and experiences, but what unites them is their desire to give something back to their community. You can read more about our commitment to the community, and the Code of Ethics we stand by, in the Working with us section.

Many of our Special Constables have families and full-time jobs, and volunteer with us in their spare time. It’s a flexible role, and our volunteers only need to give a minimum of 16 hours a month as part of the team.

If you’re 18 or over, and can commit to initial training, then you can help keep your community safe as a Special Constable.


back to top

Eligibility Criteria

We welcome applications from people of all different backgrounds, cultures, religions, ages, genders and sexual orientations. However, there are some eligibility conditions that all applicants need to meet, so you should check that you meet our requirements before submitting an application.

You need to be 18 or over to apply, and you should be able to cope in a busy environment, and have some regular time to spare.

Applicants need to be British Citizens, or passport holders from a full EU Member State. You can also apply if you’re a Commonwealth citizen or foreign national who is resident in the UK with indefinite leave to remain. All applicants must have a minimum of three years UK residency.

If you have a criminal record, this doesn’t mean you’re automatically ineligible; it depends on the nature of your conviction. Please declare any caution or conviction on your application form. If you have any questions on this, you can contact HREnquiries@Herts.pnn.police.uk for advice.

Tattoos which are offensive, garish, prominent or numerous are not acceptable. Please supply photos and measurements of any tattoos along with your application.

If you are struggling with debt, you may still be able to apply. You just need to supply us with evidence of your ability to manage your debts successfully. However, if you have any outstanding county court judgments or you are an undischarged bankrupt, then you are automatically ineligible.

Restricted roles

The role of Special Constable is open to all applicants. However, certain occupations may mean that you are ineligible to apply for the role of Special Constable.  These include, but are not limited to: the regular armed forces, traffic wardens/parking attendants, security/door staff, and on-road Highway Traffic Patrol Officers. If you have any questions on this, you can contact HREnquiries@Herts.pnn.police.uk for advice.

Pre-appointment checks

If you are successful following the selection process you will receive a conditional offer, and we will start progressing your pre-appointment checks. Those include vetting, medical, references and a fitness test, and you’ll need to pass the following medical criteria:

You must be in good health and your BMI must be between 18 and 30.

You must have good eyesight – there is an unaided vision requirement of 6/36.

You must have good fitness levels: you need to achieve 5.4 on a bleep test.

For more information on pre-appointment checks, please see the Recruitment Process section.


back to top

Rural Special Constables

Local knowledge and specific skills can be a real asset to our volunteers, particularly in rural areas. Rural Special Constables patrol countryside areas, and their particular interest in rural issues helps them protect the countryside from fly-tipping, poachers, and other rural crimes.

In return for your time and expertise, you’ll get all the training our other Special Constables receive, plus additional training on specific rural issues. You’ll also benefit from full support, even while you’re out patrolling alone, and you’ll be able to take advantage of on-going learning opportunities.

Please note that the application process for these roles is the same as the Special Constable application process.


back to top

Specialist teams

The Constabulary is always looking to give Special Constables new opportunities to work with specialist policing teams.  Officers already work alongside specialist teams such as the Road Policing Unit, the Rural Operational Support Team – which tackles rural crime – or the Public Protection Unit – where officers work to protect vulnerable people.

Further exciting attachment opportunities are becoming available for Special Constables which will see officers undertaking vital work in tackling speeding, counter terrorism, cybercrime, and road crash investigations. Many more opportunities will also be introduced in the future.

The Constabulary is also developing opportunities that will see skilled members of the public recruited straight into specialist Special Constable policing roles. Therefore, people with expertise in the IT industry or banking sector could find themselves volunteering as a Special Constable and working alongside officers in cybercrime or fraud, for example.

Special Constables who take on these specialist roles will still need to complete the necessary introductory training and be considered as fit for independent patrol.


back to top

Pay and benefits

Because it’s a voluntary role, Special Constables are not paid, but you can claim authorised out-of-pocket expenses: we cover the cost of travelling to your volunteer post (within Hertfordshire), as well as any costs for parking.

Having said that, being a Special Constable comes with considerable rewards and benefits for you and your career.

You’ll gain valuable and employable personal skills. Being a Special Constable will enhance your confidence, resourcefulness, and communication skills; all of which will develop your personal skills and experience, whatever your current or future career plans.

You’ll broaden your social and networking circles, as the role brings you into contact with people from different walks of life, both inside and outside the organisation.

You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you make a difference for your community. There’s no other volunteering opportunity like this one, and the rewards will be with you for a lifetime.


back to top

Application stages

Our application procedure is designed to discover how you measure up to the challenge of being a Special Constable, both mentally and physically.

Stages of Assessment

Paper sift of application form

To pass this stage, you’ll need to fill out a competency-based application form. If you pass the basic eligibility criteria, we’ll assess your answers to the competency-based questions.  Try to answer the questions as carefully and as fully as you can, and check your spelling and grammar.

Click here for a sample Special Constable role profile, to see the competencies you’ll need to demonstrate in your application.

Assessment centre

If you pass the application form stage, the next step is to attend our assessment centre. The session lasts approximately three hours, and usually takes place on a Saturday in Stevenage.

Pre-appointment

Before being appointed, you’ll be required to pass medical and fitness tests, as well as providing a three-year reference history and passing a security vetting process. You can find more detail on this in our Applicant help section, and it’s essential that you read this.

As part of the vetting process, you will be required to give a DNA sample (mouth swab) and fingerprints, which will be checked against a national database. You will be sent an invite to attend a session for this purpose, carried out by the recruitment team, around eight weeks prior to your start date.

These pre-appointment checks can sometimes take between three to six months. Please be aware that you must attend any appointments in your own time, including your uniform fitting appointment.

Successful appointment

Once you’ve completed all pre-employment checks, you’ll be allocated a place on the next available training course. Subject to current vacancies, you’ll be posted to a police station close to your choice of location, as specified in your application form.


back to top

Training

The Initial Learning for Special Constables is a training program consisting of training in criminal law, legal powers, traffic offences, policies, procedures, communication and radio use, practical policing skills, IT systems, self-defence and first-aid.

Prior to undertaking any police patrol duties, you will undergo an initial training course. The course is over a ten week period which will consist of distance learning via online training packages, and will be completed in your own time at home, the packages cover many aspects of law and procedure.  During initial training there will be frequent evening webinar sessions to support and guide you. There is also a mandatory Sunday session to enable you to practice your skills.

Mandatory attendance at a regional training centre is required for four consecutive weeks where you will attend on both Friday and Saturday all day for personal safety training and assessed role plays to test your law knowledge.

There is an attestation and graduation at the end of training, attended by friends and family, to mark the successful completion of the course.

After initial training and graduation, You will then have a further 18 months with a coach, to complete your Police Action Checklist (PAC). The checklist consists of 6 units which relate to arresting, searching and responding to incidents and needs to be completed before you can patrol independently.

Policing never stands still, so you are expected to keep yourself abreast of changing law, policy and procedure. Training will be provided throughout your 18 month probationary period to assist you.


back to top

back to top

Key Questions


back to top