A DRIVE to learn a new skill was the main reason behind one nurse practitioner training to become a Special Constable — and she encourages others to follow suit.
Jane Hilton, who has been a full-time nurse for 25 years, decided she wanted to learn something new and volunteer for the community.
The Special Constabulary is a force of trained volunteers who work with and support their local police.
‘Specials’, as special constables are known, come from all walks of life — they are teachers, taxi drivers, accountants and secretaries, or any number of other careers — and they all volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a month to their local police force, forming a vital link between the regular police and the local community.
Once they have completed their training, they have the same powers as regular officers and wear a similar uniform.
‘I enjoy my job but I have done it for 25 years and I wanted to learn a new skill.
‘I like to learn and challenge myself and as I already volunteer for Dartmoor Search and Rescue this fits the bill as I can volunteer in the community.
‘I did three months on-line Elearning with support from the learning and development team, a webinar and assignments and six practise weekends, where they work on hands-on skills.’
As part of the training, all applicants must complete a fitness test, which was not a problem for Jane who not only competes in triathlons but is a trail runner.
After all initial training is complete, the recruits need to work through the professional development process with a police officer or another independent patrol officer with the aim of themselves becoming an independent patrol officer.
To apply for the Special Constabulary you must be over the age of 18.
There is no upper age limit for applying but following legislative changes that were introduced in 2011 the compulsory age for retirement will remain at 60 with the potential for an extension to 65 with permission and if the individual is physically fit.
Currently Devon and Cornwall Police are not recruiting, but it is advised to watch out for advertisements on the forces website.