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Students lesson on policing from special constables

Three former public services students have been sharing their experiences with current learners about working as special constables and how the application process works to join as a regular police officer.

Jack Rees, Sam Cavill and Thomas Evans all studied public services at the college’s Graig campus before embarking on their own journeys into the sector.

In an online event, the three offered insights into the type of callouts they receive, how they work alongside regular officers and what the recruitment process involves.

  • Sam Cavill

    I work at Ammanford police station as a special constable and I’m enjoying every minute as I’ve always wanted to be a police officer.

    I didn’t feel as if I had any policing skills such as managing conflict and I felt I lacked experience so joining as a special constable made sense to me, as well as attending university and fitting studying around working and learning from regular PCs.

    My training consisted of every other weekend from Friday to Sunday for seven weeks, though it is slightly different in other forces, depending on which force you work for.

    We also have continued and regular training in areas such as first aid and stop and search.

    I worked on developing good relationships with my peers and learning from them to the stage where I was allowed to interview a suspect on my own, which was a learning curve.

    I’ve now got my official certificate which says I can attend calls on my own.

    My university also has an excellent relationship with the police which helps a lot.

    If you don’t want to work in a response team, there are other areas you can work, such as neighbourhood and community schemes.

    You also see another side of policing when you attend public events such as Iron Man and Royal Welsh Show.

  • Jack Rees

    After college, I studied a degree and I’m now serving with Dyfed Powys Police as a special constable and applying to be a regular officer.

    I’d highly recommend going to university as it’s character building and I think it’s one of the best experiences you’ll get before joining the police.

    As a special constable you are assigned a squad whose shifts are placed on an online duty management system so you can book in your shifts around theirs to get the support you need when on a callout.

    Police work is unpredictable as you don’t know what’s going to happen next, so don’t expect your shift to always finish on time and the life experiences that policing brings, you won’t find in other jobs.

    I’ve dealt with RTCs, attempted suicides, very threatening behaviour and calls that require firearm back-up, so it definitely gives you an exceptional insight as a special constable before joining the police.

  • Thomas Evans

    I did a degree in police science and joining as a special constable with South Wales Police has been an amazing experience as you learn so much working alongside PCSOs and regular officers.

    The shifts can be long, depending on what happens when you’re on duty as unexpected situations can arise just as you’re coming off a shift. I remember nearly finishing a 12-hour shift and then having to transport someone to Aberystwyth to arrange custody, but it’s all part of the job. 

    When you’re working as a special constable you can work with different teams, for example I’ve chosen to work in response as well as neighbourhood work and schools, they can often link quite nicely together and provide neighbourhood groups with useful information.

    Doing this has opened up so many avenues for me and given me the tools to solve problems from a police perspective.

    Policing is a diverse job, one day you could be looking for a missing person or responding to farm animals on a road to another day where you have to deal with a suicide.