Sunday, 7 February 2010

Special People

Glenn Goodman - Same Risks Same Respect

I've served in the regular army and obviously as a full time police officer. Both of these institutions have a reserve in the form of the Territorial Army and the Special Constabulary. I always saw the TA as week-end warriors who came out on exercise to Germany occasionally, bolstering our own units. My brother in law has a chest full of medals from his part time role and somehow the TA has become vital in National Defence. In fact I doubt if the army would have been as effective without those individuals and some on the reserve list the past few years. They have provided a cost effective way out for the government who have looked to save money by merging long established units.

I think we might be beginning to see the same with policing. The Special Constabulary were always used mainly at week-ends to help out on local community events, but now they are an important resource thrown into the line. You can see the attractiveness to the policy makers as these volunteers get paid the grand sum of nothing.

You won't find me slagging off our unpaid volunteers as I've been mightily relieved to see our Divisional reserve arrive on a Friday night in strength just before chucking out time. An extra team of 10 constables with a massive specials sergeant patrolling along a length of road 200 yards and still fights were kicking off. I was actually rather embarrassed that when they made arrests we had none of our own PC's to help them out with the paperwork. Many don't need the help as they already work for us as civil staff and the "Job" sorts them a couple of days to balance out their uniformed commitment. Somebody has been rather clever, because if a really serious emergency and I mean National Proportions takes place our police staff can be deployed in a back up role. The others come from a range of other occupations.

There is a lot more training being put into our specials to bring them up to a higher standard. I must say they are good and I'm impressed. Moves are taking place to align them to individual response teams and it is stressed this is in addition to the minimum strengths. Funny how this announcement coincided with the strength being cut again. I do hope the goodwill of our special colleagues is not abused. If the government wants to increase reliance on the police reserve they should at least ensure a tax-free bounty payment system is brought in once sufficient volunteer hours are reached.

I'm not sure where they stand if they get injured on duty. I was very fortunate to attend a talk given by ex PC Sandy Kelly who was with Special Constable Glenn Goodman when he was shot by IRA terrorists after a routine traffic stop in Yorkshire 1992. A great talk by an officer who suffered from PTSD and had to medically retire. He did these talks to aid his recovery and it was very humbling. He blamed himself for not protecting his volunteer operator despite being nearly killed himself and badly injured, and that's what the Specials are, colleagues who wear the same uniform.

It is National Specials Weekend


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nod. We are a diverse bunch, everyone has their reason for joining up. I don't think we are quite the same as the TA though. For a start we don't agree to work at particular times so the duties people can never say that on a particular shift there will be X specials on board.

We obviously don't work for the same organisation - in Urbis the effort seems to be to prevent SCs from working with response teams! I don't understand the logic personally, the few times I have worked with response I have learned more in one shift than in several ordinary duties.

One weakness we have not doing the job full time is that we don't know all the usual processes so we can take longer to do the same task or we might now know how to deal with the required paperwork for a particular job. Most of us are keen to learn and won't just slope off leaving someone else to pick up the tab.

Anonymous said...

* should say "might NOT know how"...

adrian said...

It's almost as if Western Governments were undermining Western civilisation by design isn't it.

Cultural Marxism


More here

Margaret Thatcher's senior Policy advisor
Lord Monckton calls for arrests Pt 1 of 5

Blue Eyes said...

I saw a good poster a while back. It read something like "it's not like being a police officer, it is being a police officer".

Hogday said...

Good post SoC> I have also heard Sandy Kelly's presentation, when I was in a southernshire force. Now oop north, I find I often ride past the very spot where he and Glenn Goodman were at the receiving end of a PIRA AK47 at pbr.(Which is why I still wince when I see Martin McGuinness in a suit, on TV, all respectable like). Anyone who put on a similar uniform to me and put themselves out there, alongside me and my troops, for nothing more than altruism and a sense of duty got my full attention.

Stressed Out Cop said...


Watch this space - PC's being posted as training officers in charge of Specials development. Cheap labour? - I should moan but you know what it's like on a busy night with no troops left. You can see what's coming.

Blue - I wouldn't do the specials gig - TA of course ...

Mr H - Probably the same tour. Nice bloke Sandy - good straight actor and hard hitting talk.

Wonder what he's doing now.

Jim said...

I've always thought about joining the SC, I've done my time in green so the TA doesn't really hold an attraction.

I just worry that you're not fully appreciated, so it's good to see stuff like this. My Brother is in the CoLP and he also says they do a good job.

Metcountymounty said...

Very well put SOC.

Anonymous said...

Jim, if you are thinking about joining then you have already leaped the toughest hurdle. I'll say to you what I say to anyone who isn't sure: sign up and find out for yourself. Nobody can tell you whether "the job" is for you. I had no idea I would love it so much until I got out there.

Tom said...

Thanks for a thought provoking piece regarding the volunteers, who are increasingly plugging the gaps of their full time colleagues.