Ten new police officers are on the beat in Northamptonshire armed with notebooks, whistles — and a university degree.
All ten have successfully come through a three-year Professional Policing degree run in collaboration with University of Northampton.
They had a period of hands-on training as Special Constables before moving on to land jobs as full-time officers.
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Chief Officer for the Special Constabulary, Mike Maywood, said: “The dedication and commitment shown by them to get to this level is a real credit to the officers.
“Not only have they attended university, but have also committed thousands of hours of service to gain practical experience, the Specials’ loss is most certainly the Force’s gain.”
The three-year degree course sees students undertake an intense first year of law and police knowledge followed by a practical application of this knowledge in year two where the students can apply to become 'Specials'.
They gain practical policing experience including undertaking ten-week tutoring to gain the same level of independent patrol status as regular colleagues.
The brightest and best of these students then apply their classroom and practical experience into a third year of study and final dissertation before graduating with a degree.
Sergeant Sue Torrance, Northants' Specials and Volunteers coordinator, said: “As the person responsible for the development and support of officers in the Special Constabulary, I am proud of the achievement made by these officers who are now in the best position to apply the knowledge they have learnt in the classroom and the practical experience gained as a Special, to their new roles as Regular Constables.”
'Specials' are part-time volunteers with all the same powers as full-time regular officers.
They come from all walks of life and join the ranks for a variety of reasons.
Special Constabularies have been around for hundreds of years; today they are a vital part of all Police Forces across the country, supporting and enhancing the work of regular police officers.
Inspector. Lara Alexander-Lloyd said: "I’ve been a Police Officer for 13 years and seen the difference Special Constables can make. They are a vital part of our organisation.
"They give up their time to come and support us and help make the county a safer place. The diversity of special constables also bring lots of different life experiences to consider policing in a different way"
Northamptonshire is currently recruiting for more Special Constables. Anyone wishing to volunteer their time and gain valuable life experience can find out more information online HERE.