Volunteering doesn’t come more rewarding than this.
We are not currently accepting applications for Special Constables. If this is the voluntary role for you please register your interest in future opportunities and we will contact you when we are next recruiting.
You already have a career you love – now you want a different challenge in your spare time. As a special constable officer you’ll have the same uniform and powers as regular officers. From being first on the scene and taking knives off the streets to educating young people, you’ll be working alongside regular police officers and PCSOs to make Sussex safer.
Our 'Specials', as the special constables are known, come from all walks of life. Specials are men and women of all races and faiths. They’re teachers, taxi drivers, chefs, accountants and secretaries and they all volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a month. When you join Sussex Police, you become part of our policing family – we are with you each step of the way.
Are you an honest, respectful and selfless person who wants to do something important in your spare time? Could you be there in a stranger's time of need? Are you prepared to protect others on or off duty? And are you prepared for how time-consuming this volunteer role will be? If so, we want to hear from you.
What does your spare time look like? Do something Special.
As volunteer police officers, special constables have full police powers, uniform and equipment and work alongside regular police officers and PCSOs to help protect and serve the people of Sussex.
You’ll be a key figure on the front line, a vital job that matters to the public but also matters to us. But it won't be all blue lights and car chases. You will be there for people in times of need and there will be occasions when you don't finish your shift on time, but if you have the drive to make a difference in your community you will get a great deal out of volunteering as a special constable.
It’s pretty demanding. After all, you’ll have to give up at least 16 hours of your spare time each month. But helping protect and support Sussex and the people who call it home is really satisfying too.
You could find yourself:
- Acting on emergency calls.
- Investigating reported crimes.
- Apprehending, arresting and interviewing suspects.
- Collecting evidence at crime scenes.
- Dealing with accidents and incidents.
- Supporting victims and witnesses of domestic abuse.
- Engaging with children and young people to help change perceptions of the police.
- Working with emergency service colleagues from Ambulance, Fire and Rescue.
- Responding to reports of anti-social behaviour.
- Being a visible presence at large scale public events.
To apply for the role, you will:
- Be aged 18 years or over when applying. There is no upper age limit.
- Hold a GCSE or equivalent (A-C) in Maths and English.
- Have lived in the UK for three continuous years, immediately prior to application.
- Have leave to enter or leave to remain and work in the UK for an indefinite period.
- Not be a current or previous member of a proscribed terrorist organisation or group
- Be able to volunteer at least 16 hours a month.
- Not have tattoos which can be seen as discriminatory, violent or intimidating or could be offensive.
- Not have six penalty points or more on your driving licence (you do not need a driving license to apply).
- There are a number of jobs that are considered incompatible with the role of special constable. To be sure that your current employment will not prevent your application from proceeding please see below or contact us on [email protected].
We’re committed to diversity in the workforce and welcome applications from everyone in the community; particularly people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) and white other backgrounds. We also encourage applications from women, the LGBT community and people with disabilities.
There are a number of jobs that are considered incompatible with the role of special constable. To be sure that your current employment will not prevent your application from proceeding please check the precluded occupations list:
- Serving members of HM Armed Forces.
- Members of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
- Royal Naval Auxiliary Service.
- The National Hospital Service Reserve.
- Members of the fire service, unless written permission is given by their Chief Officer.
- Traffic wardens and school crossing patrols.
- Members of employers’ police forces and private constabularies.
- Clerks to justices and clerks to courts.
- Probation officers.
- Youth workers and social workers involved in the administration of criminal law.
- Bailiffs, warrant officers, private detectives and inquiry agents.
- Custody escort officers.
- Security personnel, guards and doormen.
- Anyone working for a security company.
- Employees of security organisations.
- Neighbourhood and street wardens and other uniformed patrol wardens.
- Police Community Support Officers.
- Prison custody officers (Prison Officers are eligible, but only with written permission from their Prison Governor).
- A local authority parking warden.
- Persons taking an active part in politics.
- Highways Agency Traffic Officers (and traffic officers who are employed by other organisations, such as Vehicle and Operators Services Agency).
- Border and immigration officers with powers of arrest.
- Customs Officers.
- Barristers, solicitors and judges.
- Members of police authorities.
- Transport network revenue protection inspectors.
- Local Authority field officers e.g. trading standards officers.
- Civilian enforcement officers.
- Vehicle removal officers.
People join the Special Constabulary for many different reasons. Some want to develop their skills and life experiences, others want to give something back to their community, and some are interested in joining the regular police force and want to experience what the police do first-hand.
Becoming a special constable opens up a world of opportunity for professional and personal development. Undergoing the training and then performing the role of a police officer is challenging, but provides a welcome break from day-to-day life.
Benefits of being a special include;
- Gaining confidence.
- Developing teamwork and problem solving skills.
- Learning and development opportunities that would bring a competitive advantage in the employment market.
- Widening your life experiences.
- Keeping the people and communities of Sussex safe.
You will find the work of a special constable varied, interesting and at times, exciting. But above all you will have the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to reduce crime, disorder and fear in Sussex.
You will be trained to use the same powers as regular police constables - there will be a lot for you to learn. Once successful in your application you will complete a part time pre-join course run over 10 alternate weekends, then an initial course run over six weekends. After this you will continue your probation with the Professional Development Unit where you will be expected to commit at least 16 hours a month for the rest of your service. Unfortunately due to the amount of learning required there is no flexibility to miss a day so please bear this in mind when applying.
At this stage there is unfortunately no option of an intensive training course but is something that we are looking into.
So you want to join us as a Special Constable.
To ensure we recruit the best, we adopt a thorough selection process.
- Stage one - application form. This is where we check your personal details and that all eligibility criteria has been met.
- Stage two - online assessments. We use a combination of behaviour style questions and situational judgment tests. The behaviour styles questionnaire measures your typical behaviour and preferences at work. With the situation judgment test, your judgment and decision-making skills in relation to job relevant situations will be assessed. You do not need prior knowledge of policing policies and procedures to respond to the scenarios.
- Stage three - In force interviews at Sussex Police HQ in Lewes, Sussex.
- Stage four - pre-employment checks including medical, vetting, biometric vetting, substance misuse testing and a fitness test.
If your application has been successfully submitted you will receive an email to your registered email address. If you have submitted an application but have not received a notification please first check your Spam/Junk folder before emailing [email protected] providing your full name, telephone number and the date you submitted your application.
I don’t have a level 2 qualification in English and Maths, what can I do?
Whilst you can still apply, unfortunately you will not be offered a role until you have achieved this. Find out more details about the level of your qualification.
Am I too old to apply?
There is no upper age limit to becoming a special constable.
I’m not a British Citizen, can I still apply?
Yes. You can as long as you are an EEA National or a Swiss National. Commonwealth Citizens and Foreign Nationals are required to have leave to enter or leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period and unrestricted permission to work in the UK.
Do I need a degree to apply?
No, you do not need a degree.
Do I need a driving licence?
You do not need a driving licence to become a special constable.
What if I have motoring offences?
We assess motoring offences on an individual basis. However, if you have more than six penalty points then you will not be eligible to apply.
If I have a disability, can I still apply?
We welcome applications from people with disabilities. If you consider yourself to have a disability, please inform us within your application form of the type of reasonable adjustments you might need to assist you in participating in the recruitment and selection process.
I have a medical condition, is that an issue?
Every candidate is individually assessed. Those with pre-existing medical conditions may be asked to provide additional medical evidence to support their application. The below acts as a mere guide to answer your initial questions.
Asthma - You will be individually assessed. Individuals with asthma that is well controlled with inhalers are usually acceptable.
Diabetes - Your blood-sugar levels need to be well controlled and you need to be able to adapt to the demands of the job such as varying shifts and meal times. You will be asked to provide evidence that your diabetes is well controlled.
Epilepsy - It is recommended that you have not experienced a seizure for at least 18 months (with or without medication) before you apply and have a full driving license
Stress, Anxiety or Depression - These roles are front-line and public facing, requiring the ability to deal with the public in a wide range of situations as well as exposing you to potentially upsetting incidents. A high level of emotional resilience is required to undertake this work. It is recommended that you have been stable and well for at least 1 year before you apply.
Dyslexia - We are able to support reasonable adjustments if you have a report confirming your condition. For police officers this report must be carried out as an adult. Support is available during training and in the workplace.
Severe Allergy - Most allergies are compatible with these roles, but if you have a severe allergy (including a history of collapse or breathing difficulties) we may require further information to establish your fitness for role.
Any type of blood clotting disorder which requires medication such as Warfarin - We may require further information to establish your fitness for role.
What does the medical involve?
To ensure you are fit for the role we ask you to undergo a fitness test and an individual medical assessment. Your medical assessment will take place with the Sussex Police Occupational Health and Wellbeing Service under strict confidence. Disabilities will be assessed taking into account the Equality Act 2010 and recommendations regarding reasonable adjustments made where appropriate. If you have a health problem, or recently had a lot of time off, we may need to see a copy of any relevant medical records, such as specialist reports, test results or a note from your doctor. You will not be able to proceed until we have received your GP report and optician test results
I wear glasses/contact lenses, can I apply?
A general level of eyesight is required to ensure you are able to carry out your role safely while driving police vehicles, taking accurate statements and relaying evidence in court. DVLA guidelines apply together with eyesight standards from the College of Policing. Corrected distance visual acuity must be 6/12 in the better eye and 6/6 or better binocularly. A field-of-view of at least 120 degrees horizontally by 100 degrees vertically is required. Those with monocular vision should be able to reach the visual field requirements and 6/6 corrected vision in their eye and be subject to a risk assessment by the organisation. Corrected near static visual acuity must be 6/9 or better binocularly. Glasses and contact lenses are both acceptable. Seeing a qualified optician every few years is a good way to ensure your eyes are healthy. For Special Constables we ask you to see a qualified optician prior to your medical appointment.
I am colour blind, can I apply?
Mild colour vision deficiencies are not generally a problem but you might not be able to progress into some specialist roles, such as roads policing officer or Taser/firearms officer. Unfortunately, if your colour vision deficiency is monochrome you are not eligible to apply
What if I have hearing issues?
A good level of hearing is required to ensure you are able to carry out your role safely, to be able to document and relay what you have heard in a potentially crowded and noisy environment whilst also listening to your personal radio. Each ear individually for low frequencies (0.5+1+2) should be below 84 dB and for high frequencies (3+4+ 6) below 123 dB. Hearing aids are acceptable as long as they correct your hearing to adequate levels. Ensure you protect your ears from loud noise, e.g. when listening to music either live or through headphones or when riding a motorbike but also if you work in an environment that exposes you to loud noise such as drills or firearms. Avoid exposure to loud noise and flying the days prior to your medical.
Is there a specific weight / BMI I need to be?
Being overweight affects your overall health and puts you at increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. It can also affect your joints and might make it harder for you to achieve the fitness levels required for your role. Equally, being underweight can mean that you lack muscle mass to ensure adequate fitness levels. During your medical appointment your BMI will be calculated and used as a guide to assess your health risks and fitness levels. A BMI in the healthy to overweight range is desirable, if your BMI is above 30 Specials we will also assess your body composition and you might be deferred unless your body fat percentage is below 30% for men or 36% for women. Your best option is to ensure a healthy balanced diet and regular moderate exercise to ensure your own personal health and wellbeing as well as fitness for your role in policing. Check your BMI at www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight and assess your diet with the 'eatwell plate guide' www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide.
I don’t think that I am fit enough for the fitness test?
We understand that some people may feel nervous when it comes to the fitness test, however you don’t need to be a professional athlete to succeed.
What does vetting entail?
We will carry out security checks on you and your:
- Father/Stepfather/Mother’s partner
- Mother/Stepmother/Father’s partner
- Brothers/Sisters (full/half/step)
- Children/Children of your partner (only those aged 10 years and over)
- Any other adult living at your address
- Financial circumstances
- Social media accounts
What if I have a relative who has convictions?
If your friends or family members have criminal convictions, you must disclose this when asked on your vetting application. Your application will not be automatically rejected and consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis.
Can I still apply if I have a criminal record?
Applications will be rejected in all cases where:
- Offences were committed as an adult or juvenile which resulted in a prison sentence (including custodial, suspended or deferred sentence and sentences served at a young offenders’ institution or community home)
- The applicant is a registered sex ofender or is subject to a registration requirement in respect of any other conviction.
For all other convictions or cautions, there is a rebuttable presumption that they should be rejected. In particular, the following would result in rejection: offences where vulnerable people were targeted; offences motivated by hate or discrimination; domestic abuse offences. Although the rebuttable presumption is that these should lead to rejection, there will be cases where this may disproportionate in the circumstances. For instance, where the offence was committed as a juvenile, it was not serious and the individual has demonstrated a commitment to help individuals or communities in the subsequent years. In these cases, vetting acceptable may be justified.
Do I have to declare if I was arrested but not charged?
Yes. You must declare if you have ever been subject to a criminal investigation whether or not this led to a prosecution. Failure to make such declarations will lead to your application being rejected.
What if I have been bankrupt?
You can still apply but only if it is three years after bankruptcy debts have been discharged.
How about County Court Judgments (CCJ)?
If the judgement has been discharged then you can be considered however if you have an existing judgement your application will be rejected.
I have an Independent Voluntary Agreement (IVA), can I still apply?
Applicants with current IVA’s will be considered. However, you will be required to show that there is an IVA repayment plan in place and that you’ve maintained regular payments over a significant number of months.
Do you ask for references?
We may send reference requests to all your previous employers in the past three years. If you haven’t been employed for three years, we will ask for a character reference or an educational reference,
How can I contact you if I have more questions?
If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact us via email at [email protected].