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From helping terrified residents at the scene of a serious arson to an arrest in a multi-million pound drug bust, Special Sergeant Ed Franklin is proof that every day is different in policing.
Forty year old Ed, who works in business analysis, has been volunteering as a Special Constable in St Albans for three and a half years. Comprising nearly 200 officers, Hertfordshire’s Special Constabulary are a team of dedicated volunteer police officers who give up their time to keep those living and working in Hertfordshire safe. They come from all walks of life and sacrifice their spare time for a minimum of 16 hours a month. With full policing powers, they also have the option of working up to reach new ranks. Ed, for example, has been a Special Sergeant since November 2019.
Describing the variety of his role, he said: “You never know what you might come into when you start your shift. I once arrested a man suspected of illegally selling millions of pounds worth of prescription medications! I primarily work on the Intervention Team which means responding to 999 calls. No day or night is ever the same and that’s what makes it so exciting. My most recent shift included searching for a missing person, responding to reports of a pedestrian spotted on a dual carriageway, dealing with an altercation at a takeaway, someone shoplifting, an alcohol-fuelled fight and a collision which resulted in a drug driving arrest. All that in just one shift!
“When not working on Intervention, I support the Safer Neighbourhood Team with speed enforcement. Speeding is consistently one of the main problems residents tell us about so it’s satisfying to be able to play a part in getting drivers to slow down and drive more safely.”
And the local residents are full of praise for Ed’s efforts in tackling the problem. “Every time I do it at least one local resident comes to speak to me and say thank you” he added.
One of the most memorable incidents that Ed has handled relates to a serious arson. He recalls: “Multiple cars had been set on fire in an underground car park below a block of flats. As the fire and rescue service dealt with the blaze, our job was to evacuate the terrified residents who had been woken up in the early hours of the morning. Once the building was safe, myself, another Special and two ‘regular’ officers arrested the suspects and took them to custody.”
Ed has previous volunteering experience at community level working for an animal charity overseas. Comparing the experiences, he said: “Being a Sergeant in the Special Constabulary is similar to volunteer management in other voluntary roles, however the volunteering itself is different in the sense that when you attend an incident, nobody knows you’re a volunteer. They expect and deserve the same level of professionalism as they would get from a regular officer. That’s a big responsibility but ultimately very rewarding.”
To those thinking about joining Hertfordshire’s Special Constabulary, Ed says: “Get yourself on a ride along – anyone can apply to accompany an officer for a shift as an observer*. It will give you a much better picture of what police work is really like – both the good and the not so good.
“I’ve always thought of myself as being good in a crisis and being in the police has given me the chance to put that to the test. I’ve learned new skills and I feel fulfilled. There’s no better feeling than going home at the end of a long shift and knowing you’ve made a difference to just one person’s life.”
Feeling inspired? Visit the Herts Police Specials website to find out more and apply.
*Please note our ride along scheme is currently on hold due to COVID-19. More information can be found at on our website.
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