Life as a Special Constable
Aaron Griffiths is one of our Special Constables – volunteers who give up their spare time to become part-time police officers with the same powers as full-time regular officers – carrying out his policing duties alongside his job as a dispatcher within our Force Control Room (FCR). He explains why he loves being a Special Constable.
I joined Northamptonshire Police as a Special Constable in 2010, and I originally volunteered with the Force alongside a paid job in retail. After I decided going to university wasn’t for me, I felt a role with the police would help me make a difference to people, which really appealed because when I was younger my grandmother’s home was vandalised by youths, but the police never caught anyone for it. This experience made me want to be the difference that stopped the same thing happening to someone else.
Keeping the roads safe
Having progressed up the ranks of the Special Constabulary, I’m now a Special Sergeant and head up the Safer Roads Team’s specials, managing a team of 10 fellow volunteer officers. Working with the two PCs in the team, I help organise operations, events and training. I also manage the welfare of the team, in particular if they’ve been to traumatic incidents or been injured on duty, making sure referrals are made so they get the right support.
Spending so many years as a Special Constable makes me really proud. I’ve been lucky to work within roads policing for seven of those years, and in that time I’ve been involved in pursuits, covert incidents, and have had the opportunity to complete stinger training so I can assist tactical pursuit-trained officers when they need to stop a vehicle.
I’d say my proudest moment so far was being one of the first Special Constables in Northamptonshire to undertake standard response driving, so I can respond to incidents on blue lights. Working in roads policing also has challenging moments, especially attending serious or fatal collisions and then having to break dreadful news to families.
Volunteering to make a difference
Like most roles in policing, no two days are the same as a Special Constable! When I arrive for a shift, once I’m booked on duty I’ll carry out uniform and vehicle checks before speaking to the FCR then hitting the roads for a patrol. I could be using in-car Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to check for vehicles without tax or insurance, or for disqualified or unlicensed drivers one minute, then attending an emergency call the next.
The best part of my role is the flexibility it allows in being able to choose when I’m on duty, so I can fit my volunteer policing around my personal and work commitments. I’m privileged to be in a position where I can set goals for the team in the future and be part of the change that comes. The work that the rest of my team do, on the scale they do it, and all as volunteers, is one of the most humbling things to see.