Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need any qualifications to be a special?

A. No formal qualifications are needed, but you will need to meet all of the eligibility criteria and there will be some written tests. Common sense and good communication skills are helpful. Other useful qualities include dedication, motivation and an ability to remain calm in stressful situations.

Q. What is the recruitment process?

A. We recommend that you attend a specials information seminar to help you to fully understand the recruitment process and the role and responsibilities of being a special.

Register for an information seminar

However, if you feel you are ready to apply and you meet the criteria, you can apply today.

Following a successful application, you will be invited to an assessment centre where you will be asked to complete written tests, an interview and a fitness test.

Each applicant is also subject to successful vetting.

Q. Will my full time employment affect my application?

A. People with certain occupations are excluded from joining the Special Constabulary, such as:

The above list is not exhaustive but generally any occupation in which the powers of a special could be used to some advantage, or where there is conflict with professional duties, may hinder your application. If you are unsure, please can contact us on 0300 122 8900 so we can advise you further.

Q. Can I still join if I have been in trouble with the police?

A. All successful applicants will undergo vetting and each case is considered carefully.

You must, therefore, disclose details of any previous convictions, cautions or mitigation, in the initial application. Such disclosure does not mean you will be automatically eliminated.

Q. Is there an age limit?

A. A special must be aged 18 years or over.

Q. Are there any height requirements?

A. No, there are no height requirements or restrictions to becoming a special.

Q. Is there a fitness test?

A. Yes there is a fitness test which includes a bleep test, push and pull test, as well as your general fitness being assessed. Some people find the fitness test physically challenging so you need to make sure you prepare yourself weeks before an assessment centre. For more information visit the fitness related test page.

Q. Is there an eyesight requirement?

A. Yes. As part of the role you may be required to give evidence, so eyesight and colour perception is important. You will need to meet the minimum eyesight standards for corrected (glasses or contact lenses) and uncorrected vision. For more information go to policecouldyou.co.uk

Q. Do I have to live within Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland?

A. No. However, you should consider the distance you would have to travel to your duty station.

Q. How many hours am I expected to volunteer?

A. On average, specials offer a minimum of four hours per week or 16 hours per month. You will also be expected to commit to policing three major events per year such as a football match or an event at Donington Park.

You can arrange your duties to fit your availability and will get support from your supervisor to help manage your time effectively.

Q. Will it cost me anything to be a special?

A. No. All uniform, training and equipment are provided free of charge. There is no salary payable, but expenses for travel to and from duty are refunded along with a ‘boot allowance’ and meal expenses in some circumstances. If you live outside of the Leicestershire Police area, travel expenses will only be paid whilst travelling within the force boundary.

Q. How much training will I receive?

A. You will receive full training in all aspects of police work including powers of arrest, preparing evidence for court and officer protection.

The training programme will begin in the classroom and will be delivered over some weekends and weeknights. You will learn about the use of force (e.g. handcuffs, batons, incapacitant spray), first aid and unarmed defensive tactics.

Training then moves to a practical phase and you will go out on patrol with a tutor constable for a period of time.

In the final phase of the programme, you will report for duty with your shift colleagues and build up your skills and experience. The final phase lasts up to 18 months and your progress is continually assessed against defined levels of competence.

On successful completion of the programme, you will be formally recognised with accredited patrol status; you’re able to take your place on your shift as a fully trained officer and are capable of patrolling and dealing with incidents on your own when required.

You will have sworn an oath of allegiance, and will hold the same powers as a regular officer.

Q. What uniform and equipment will I get?

A. You will receive the same uniform and equipment as a uniformed police officer. This will be given to you during your induction training.

Q. Where would I work?

A. Generally you will be posted close to where you live. As a volunteer, we would not ask you to work anywhere against your will. Under some circumstances we may exclude you from duty within a certain area and ask you to help somewhere else, but a full explanation would be given.

Q. How would becoming a special benefit me?

A. There are several ways you can benefit from the role, both personally and professionally. You will gain and enhance transferable skills such as leadership and negotiation which you can use in employment elsewhere.

You will have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution in your community as well as:

Promotion within the Special Constabulary can provide opportunities to develop your management and leadership qualities both sort after in other careers.

Q. How do regular officers and specials work together?

A. Specials work alongside and support regular officers to tackle crime in their communities.

Many police officers were once specials themselves, and gained an insight into the job before committing to a full-time career.

Q. Should I tell my employer that I am a special?

A. Yes. There are benefits for your employer as you develop new skills that are transferable to your full time occupation.

We want employers to join the Employer Supported Policing (ESP) scheme. ESP develops a successful partnership between employers, their staff and the police service in order to support the Special Constabulary in helping protect communities and making them a safer place to live.

If your organisation would like to join the scheme, please contact [email protected]

Q. What if I am unable to work due to an injury received while on duty or a court case?

A. You may be required to attend court or you may sustain an injury while on duty. If you are unable to work because of this, you may apply to the force for loss of earnings. There is also a Legal Fees Insurance Scheme provided by the Home Office which offers protection for certain incidents that arise on duty.

Q. What if I want to help, but not as a police officer?

A. There are other volunteering opportunities within Leicestershire Police such as police support volunteers and cadet leaders.

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