Volunteer and be somebody’s life saver, urges Special Constable
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“There are people who need your help, and they don’t even know it yet… go and be somebody’s life saver!”
That’s the advice of 21 year old Special Constable Annabel Hunt who first shared her story with you earlier in September. Since then, Annabel has been applying for Masters courses and her role as a volunteer police officer is making her a standout candidate.
Annabel is one of nearly 200 Special Constables who help keep Hertfordshire safe. As volunteer police officers, they give up a minimum of sixteen hours a month to do the role and are highly trained with full policing powers, including the power to arrest.
“Whilst at university I have felt a lot safer knowing I have a trained eye for looking out for my friends’ safety as well as my own. And when applying to my Masters courses for 2022, all the universities are so interested in what I do. It makes me the most interesting person in the room and they are impressed by the volunteering hours. I love policing as I love helping people, but it’s fantastic when other people show an interest in it. There’s so many benefits to joining and my experience shows that it really can help you in other aspects of your life too.”
Since September, Annabel has taken a suicide prevention course as well as a course on how to deal with domestic incidents upon arrival. She said: “This was a great learning experience and I feel I can use these new skills beyond policing. Since we last spoke I have learnt from more senior officers different ways to communicate to violent and aggressive offenders and I have learnt the best way to deal with high risk domestic incidents. I find the more hours you put into policing the more you get out of it. I am constantly learning and changing my approaches to different jobs.”
The role of a Special Constable is certainly a challenging one at times. “I attended an incident where a young male had taken a large amount of drugs and as a result became extremely aggressive and violent but he was also very strong,” she explained. “It had to take a minimum of 12 officers to hold him in a secure position before he could be seen by paramedics. Then around eight of us had to go into the back of an ambulance to keep him still, so he would remain safe and could not harm himself or others.”
But for every difficult job, there is always another one that highlights just how uplifting the role can be.
Annabel, whose role is based in Welwyn Hatfield, recalls one recent job where she helped a man suffering from Alzheimer’s. “We visited an elderly man who had reported his car stolen,” she said. “However, it turned out he was suffering from Alzheimer’s and as a result had parked his car and forgotten where he had left it. We found the car and returned it to him very early in the morning. We then sat down and waited for his children to arrive in order for them to move the car, and he made a cup of tea and was telling me all about his amazing stories when he was growing up and how he was so thankful the police had taken the time out of their shift to return his car.
“Another memorable job involved a suicidal male who was making off from police because he was struggling massively with his mental health. We helped him receive the help he needed and as a result he wrote into the police station thanking the officers who were there because our help has meant his life is back on track.”
To those tempted to try this rewarding and challenging role, Annabel is very clear! She urges: “Stop hesitating and just join! You could be the officer that a family remember for the rest of their lives because YOU helped them in some way. Or a victim of domestic violence may always remember you as you helped them at their worst moments. The job has the most amazing parts and also has its sad parts, but they’re all just as rewarding as each other. You won’t be left on your own to defend yourself, you will have an experienced officer with you at all times – and you will learn so much from them. There are people who need your help, and they don’t even know it yet… go and be somebody’s life saver!”
Specials come from all walks of life. Outside of policing, Special Constable Annabel Hunt is a full-time law student at Plymouth University.