Flexible scheme gives Special Constables time to volunteer
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Those wanting to volunteer as a Special Constable, but who are worried about getting time off work, are being offered a scheme which may help them.
Hertfordshire Constabulary is re-launching the Employer Supporting Policing scheme (ESP) which gives flexibility for Special Constables to carry out their volunteering duties.
Special Constables are volunteer police officers - they have all the same powers as regular police officers, including the power to arrest, and they play a vital role in preventing, reducing and tackling crime. Specials are fully trained and are a valued resource for the constabulary, helping to ease demand and pressures.
They must be able to spare a minimum of 16 hours a month however, through ESP, some employers agree to allow their staff paid or unpaid leave to carry out Special Constable duties or training.
There are huge benefits for the employer as their employee/Special Constable gains an abundance of new skills that are brought back to the workplace – from communication and problem solving to resilience and teamwork. Meanwhile, the employee not only obtains an array of new skills but gets to enjoy the rewards and satisfaction of a volunteering role like no other.
Supporters of the ESP scheme in Hertfordshire include Tesco, Which?, McMullen Brewery and Sons and District and Borough Councils.
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “Our Special Constabulary is a valued asset and its volunteers play a huge role in making sure Hertfordshire is a safe place. Amongst many other benefits, our Specials tell us time and again of the fulfilment they experience by helping members of the public and making a genuine difference to people’s lives.
“If you’ve previously thought about volunteering as a Special but have been worried about fitting it in with your day job, I encourage you to consider ESP. There is lots of flexibility within the scheme – some employers decide to give the Special unpaid leave to undertake their duties whilst others are able to offer paid leave - it varies from organisation to organisation and the constabulary will work with your employer to find a way that works.
“If you are a local employer, I would also encourage you to consider allowing your staff who are or who may wish to become Specials to participate in this scheme. They gain significant skills as a Special, many of which are transferable back into their workplace, whilst also showing how your organisation supports the policing of their communities.”
ESP has been highlighted by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, in his Community Safety and Criminal Justice plan as a scheme to work closer with local businesses to bring vital skills to the policing and community safety arena.
Mr Lloyd said: “My Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan encourages businesses across Hertfordshire to support Employer Supported Policing.
“Keeping Hertfordshire safe is everybody's business and organisations can play their part by supporting employees to become Special Constables.”
“The ESP scheme is a brilliant way of bringing trained and experienced professionals into the Constabulary. Many have their own particular skill sets which can be used in policing, and it is a very rewarding experience for the individuals who volunteer to keep us all safer.”