Specials lead Melton policing operations for a night

Police officers are appealing for witnesses
Police officers are appealing for witnesses

Special Constables took the lead on policing Melton on Saturday to mark 185 years of the part-time volunteer officers patrolling the UK’s streets.

Two specials took a prominent role on a busy night in the town, alongside a specials sergeant and a regular police officer.

They were part of a squad of 60 specials who took the lead on shifts across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland in the unique initiative.

A total of 17 arrests were made on the evening and the volunteer officers helped deal with numerous incidents, including a sexual assault, several public order offences and an assault against a police officer.

The Melton specials had a quieter evening than some of their colleagues across the counties but one of them who took part, James Butcher, said the experience had reaffirmed his intention to apply for a full-time career in the police force.

He said: “It was a bit nerve-wracking because we didn’t know what to expect. It was a jump up in responsibility but a great opportunity and a real learning curve.

“It was largely a quiet evening in Melton, though. There were a lot of people out in the town but they were good natured in the main.”

James (22) has been a special in the Melton force for four months, working one shift a week. His normal day job is as a waiter at Gates Nursery at Cold Overton so it is a culture change every time he goes out on patrol.

“I love the work - it’s just brilliant,” added James. “Being a special has changed me as a person, I am much more confident. I would recommend anyone has a go because they might end up wanting to be a full-time officer as I do.”

Inspector Manjit Atwal, who supervised the night across the counties, said: “It was a busy night and they should be proud of themselves, especially considering the range of situations they dealt with. It was brilliant to see the special and regular officers supporting each other so well, and I certainly look forward to us working closely in the future.”

Leicestershire Police has almost 300 specials who regularly volunteer their time to policing. Specials hold the same powers as regular police officers, and this year they’ve already dedicated over 70,000 hours helping the force keep communities safer.

Special Chief Inspector Phil Smith said: “The specials did a sterling job (on Saturday night), with many staying on much later than we had initially anticipated.

“I am honoured to lead such a remarkable group of officers, and it was an excellent way for us all to celebrate the anniversary of the Special Constabulary. It gave us a chance to really show our capabilities in policing, and demonstrate just how far we’ve come in 185 years.”

The Special Constabulary was born on October 15, 1831, when an Act was passed to grant them all the same “powers, authorities, advantages and immunities” as regular officers. A second Act was passed in 1835, which redefined the specials as a voluntary organisation, as it has remained ever since.

The following February saw the appointment of Frederick Goodyer as the first Head Constable of Leicester Borough Police, and a couple of years later the force introduced its very own Special Constabulary.

Anyone interested in becoming a special, is invited to the force’s next information seminar on Thursday December 15, at Leicestershire Police Headquarters.

Email recruitment@derbyshire.pnn.police.uk to register an interest in attending or to request more details.