Sussex welcomes new Special Constables
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Sussex Police has welcomed its first new Special Constables to the force for four years. The 21 new officers will be heading out on the streets of Sussex for the first time over the Christmas and New Year period.
The new officers were sworn into the force at a formal attestation ceremony on Sunday (20 December), and welcomed by Chief Constable Jo Shiner, with families and friends attending via Zoom.
Having completed their intense 18 weeks’ initial training, they will join local policing teams as volunteer police officers, giving their free time to help keep Sussex communities safe.
“I was delighted to welcome the new Special Constables to the policing family,” said CC Jo Shiner.
“These officers are the first new additions to the force’s Special Constabulary for four years, and have worked so hard in these challenging times to complete their initial training in their free time.
“They will be valued members of the force, working alongside regular officers in our response and neighbourhood teams to fight crime and protect the public.
“Our Specials bring valuable experience, skills and professionalism to their police work from a variety of regular careers, and work with a commitment, passion and self-sacrifice that is greatly appreciated by the whole force. In this past year Specials have donated thousands of hours of their time to support the force and the community during the pandemic.”
SC Catherine Watson will be going on response in Worthing
The new officers will join either local response teams or neighbourhood teams, where they will continue much of their training alongside their coaches on the streets, together with further theoretical, legal and practical training. Only when they have completed the entire programme, will they achieve independent patrol, which usually takes 12 to 18 months.
“I am really excited to be finally achieving my ambition,” said SC Catherine Watson, who will be joining the local Response team in Worthing. “I always wanted to join up but took another career path and started a family. Now, I’m so looking forward to supporting and protecting my local community.”
SC Josef Picman who is joining a Chichester Response team
“I feel so proud to have become a Special,” says SC Josef Picman, a nursing associate for the NHS, “I’m looking forward to serving the community in Chichester. I hope to draw on my daytime work with vulnerable adults with complex needs to help me relate well to the public and support the most vulnerable.”
SC Kyle Hoeger runs a veterinary practice, but as a Special, it’s the people of Crawley he will be taking care of.
“It feels fantastic to be joining the response team. I have experience as a Special with the Met and know there’s no greater satisfaction than making a positive impact. How you interact can potentially change someone’s life.”
SC Kyle Hoelger
Specials are trained through the Initial Learning for Special Constables, in line with the traditional Initial Police Learning and Development Programme, and have the same powers, uniform and equipment as regular officers. They work for a minimum of 16 hours a month.
SC Gemma Holland, a police contact officer, is one of our police staff who are choosing to volunteer their free time to do even more to protect communities and catch criminals. She’ll be working in the Contact Centre on New Year’s Eve, then joining the response team as a Special in Hastings on 2 January, using her experience handling emergency calls to help the public in person.
SC Gemma Holland will be on the frontline in Hastings
Many Specials progress into specialised areas of policing, bringing specialist knowledge and skills that can help us in specific areas, such as roads policing, licensing or child and vulnerable person protection.
CC Jo Shiner added: “I wish the new officers all the best with their service – and thank them on behalf of the organisation and community for this commitment they have made.”
“I would particularly like to acknowledge the Special Constabulary training team that have volunteered their time to support and train the new cohort, especially SC Alan Rankin-Thorn, Head of Special Constabulary, for all his hard work and dedication in leading the training.”
SC Alan Rankin-Thorn said:
“It has been an immense pleasure to have the new officers join our Special Constabulary and it has been an honour for me to be part of their journey.
“Seeing them develop their knowledge, understanding and skills as Special Constables, and experiencing their enthusiasm for protecting the public, has made working with them a particularly rewarding experience.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I’m pleased to welcome, with Chief Constable Shiner, the new cohort of Special Constables into Sussex Police.
“Special Constables are unique, selfless and civic-minded individuals who give their time for free and bring a wealth of experience and diversity which enriches the Sussex Police workforce.
“This has been a particularly challenging time for all emergency services and I want to thank our Sussex Police volunteers for their countless hours of service, dedication and their invaluable support in making our communities safer.”