Special constables clock over 1,000 hours during coronavirus crisis

Suffolk police officers have been spat and coughed on by members of the public who they have detaine

Suffolk police officers have been spat and coughed on by members of the public who they have detained. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Special constables volunteering to police the streets in Suffolk have worked more than 1,000 hours so far this month as the coronavirus crisis continues.

The 126-strong volunteer force has been aiding officers across the county in spreading the government’s lockdown instructions, while working with full-time officers during a number of emergency incidents.

Between Wednesday, April 1 and Tuesday, April 7, 47 of its constables completed 845 hours and 117 duties, giving up their own time to help the force – while others have been given paid leave from their day-to-day jobs to help enforce lockdown laws and protect the NHS. MORE: Follow all of our coronavirus news coverage here

Special chief officer Dean Knight said the specials play an “integral role” in policing the county’s streets.

SCO Knight said: “I have been deeply touched by the number of duties they have performed over the past few weeks and I am indebted to their families for their support.

“I am also proud of the employers who have released their staff who are specials to help the community and the NHS to help save lives.

“All of our officers are committed to stand side-by-side with the Suffolk police family in order to provide visible frontline policing, to support the community and also by looking out for the vulnerable, allowing key workers to focus on the priorities over the coming weeks.” MORE: Join our Facebook group for the latest Suffolk coronavirus news

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Although volunteers, special constables have the same powers as regular police officers and perform a variety of public duties – both on patrol and when helping at major incidents, operations and events.

Chief superintendent Marina Ercison, county policing commander, said: “In Suffolk, we are extremely blessed with having so many dedicated and passionate people who are part of our extended policing family and who put themselves forward to help and support their communities at this time.

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“I am so grateful to those people and businesses who employ special constables across the county for supporting their staff and allowing them to take time off to support us at such an unprecedented time.”

MORE: Suffolk police issue 469 coronavirus lockdown warnings in one week

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore added: “Our volunteer police officers are not called specials for nothing, they really are very special and we are absolutely indebted to each and every one of them.

“I am a great supporter of the fantastic work that our special constables carry out across the county every day and even more so now, as we face the challenges of Covid-19.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the special constables who give their time so generously to support the work of the constabulary and to also thank those employers who have released their staff to concentrate on their policing duties.”

In Essex, 10 new special constables were handed their warrant cards in the last week, with nine of them given paid leave by employers Argos and Sainsbury’s. MORE: Sign up to our newsletter for daily coronavirus updates

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