Recruitment is now open - check out our information pages for details on how to apply and the requirements.
Leicestershire Police Specials are volunteer police officers with the same powers as regular officers. They typically spend around 16 hours a month, or more, working alongside and supporting regular officers to tackle crime in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
As a Special, the demands are ever changing, and the role is just as much about supporting victims, providing reassurance and building relationships as it is about flashing lights and handcuffs. You could make a valuable contribution to your community, while also developing your skills and learning to think on your feet.
So if you're after a new challenge and a unique volunteering experience, look no further...
Watch the video below to find out what it is like to be a special with Leicestershire Police, and if you're still interested, register for an information seminar.
What is the Special Constabulary?
The Special Constabulary has been around for more than 180 years, supporting the work of regular officers on duty, policing local events, assisting at road traffic incidents, raising awareness of force initiatives and campaigns, and liaising with local schools and colleges to promote crime prevention.
Each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales have a Special Constabulary with more than 20,000 specials across the UK. Recruitment is now open for specials and you could start training within three months from submitting your application.
We are firmly committed to the principles of equal opportunities and encourage applications from all sections of our communities.
Before you apply, please check that you meet all the following criteria to ensure that you are eligible to apply to become a special.
You need to be a British citizen or a citizen of a country that is a member of the European Economic Area, or Switzerland. Commonwealth citizens and foreign nationals who are resident in the UK and free from restrictions are also eligible to apply.
Ideally, you should not have a criminal record. If you have a conviction as an adult or juvenile it is unlikely that you will be suitable, but some minor offences and cautions may not exclude you.
You must not be registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, have outstanding County Court Judgements against you, or be subject to a current Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).
We are firmly committed to the principles of equal opportunities and encourage applications from all sections of our communities. We also encourage applicants from different age groups including those who are looking to acquire and develop new skills.
The minimum age to apply is 18 years, and there is no upper age limit. You should bear in mind that the normal retirement age for police constables and sergeants is 60 years.
You will need to be physically fit, and you will need to pass the job-related fitness test. You will undergo a medical screening and will also need to meet the minimum eyesight standards for corrected (glasses or contact lenses) and uncorrected vision. For more information go to www.policecouldyou.co.uk
If you have any questions about becoming a special, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section below.
All candidates for the Special Constabulary will be subject to the same vetting procedures as apply to regular police officers.
You do not need to be working to become a special. You can be unemployed or at home bringing up a family. Some peoples employment will, however, be deemed a conflict of interest. Members of the armed forces, for example, cannot serve as specials.
For details of other jobs affected, you may view the 01/2011 special constable eligibility circular on the College of Policing Special Constabulary website at www.college.police.uk.
If you are still uncertain as to your eligibility or have any questions, please contact the HR Shared Service Centre on 0300 122 8900.
Financial checks are carried out because police officers have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption. Applicants with outstanding County Court Judgements, who have been registered bankrupt with outstanding debts, will be rejected. If you have discharged bankruptcy debts then you will need to provide a Certificate of Satisfaction with your application.
If you need further information on the eligibility criteria then please contact the HR Shared Service Centre on 0300 122 8900.
We recommend that, where possible, you attend one of our information seminars. At information seminars you get the chance to find out first-hand what it is like to be a special. You will receive an interactive experience with an animated presenter and the opportunity to meet serving specials and hear about their experiences.
However, if you have attended a previous information seminar or feel ready to submit your application, you can complete our online application form.
You will be asked to provide personal information as well as completing two competency-based questions (CBQs). CBQs require you to give a detailed account of how you have demonstrated a particular core competency in the past. Some of the competencies tested could be professionalism, working with others, decision making or service delivery.
Please note that many candidates fail the application process, simply because they do not give enough time and attention to the completion of the two competency-based questions. For further guidance on the competency-based questions please click here.
After successful selection you will be invited to our headquarters to complete a fitness test and take part in an assessment centre.
There are two elements to the fitness test, in endurance and dynamic strength, and you must pass both of them before you can be appointed. The assessment centre includes a written test and a group assessment.
For more information view the fitness test section.
After passing the fitness test and assessment centre, you'll be required to complete a medical fitness examination by your doctor and an eyesight test by your optician.
We will check your references, and carry out security checks and vetting. Successful appointment is subject to you passing these checks, which may also include your immediate family.
If successful, you'll receive a start date.
If you have any queries please contact the HR Shared Service Centre:
At information seminars, you get the chance to find out first-hand what it is like to be a special. You will receive an interactive experience with an animated presenter and the opportunity to meet serving specials and hear about their experiences.
You will also be encouraged to ask as many questions as you like.
At the end of the seminar, you will understand:
the role of a special
what is involved in the training course
the duties and responsibilities
It is an ideal opportunity to meet with people who want to make a positive difference in their communities.
Serving specials are present at the seminars, as well as regular officers and staff members, and they are able to answer questions that you may have.
Ready to apply?
If you feel you are ready to apply and you meet all of the criteria you can apply today.
Being a special is physically demanding and you will face challenging situations where a good level of fitness will be required. You will need to be able to protect members of the public as well as yourself and your colleagues.
To make sure that you are physically able to carry out your duties as a special, you will be invited to Leicestershire Police Headquarters to complete a fitness test.
You will need to train to pass the fitness test. Some people can find it physically challenging to reach the levels required so we recommend you start training weeks before you attend an assessment centre. Download the fitness test booklet to help you in your preparation.
There are two elements to the test and you must pass both of them before you can be appointed.
You should aim for Level 6 as this will demonstrate to us that you can perform effectively as a special. You will be encouraged to perform to the best of your ability with a minimum pass rate of Level 5 shuttle 4. You will take both tests on the same day and you will be assessed regularly throughout your duty.
You may not have a lot of time to prepare for the fitness test so we recommend you start training now.
You will have three opportunities to pass the fitness test. If you fail on your third attempt, your application will not be processed any further and you will not be eligible to reapply to become a special for six months.
You can see what the fitness test will look like by watching this video recorded by Northamptonshire Police.
You will wear the same uniform as regular officers and receive full training in all aspects of police work including: powers of arrest, officer protection and preparing evidence for court.
All specials are subject to a comprehensive training programme with regular refreshers throughout their service. The training will be delivered over some weekends and weeknights.
For the initial part of the training programme, you will be based in the classroom where you will learn about the law, first aid, the use of force (e.g. handcuffs, batons, incapacitant spray) and how to apply it to your policing duties.
Training then moves to a practical phase and you will go out on patrol with a tutor constable for a period of time.
In the final phase of the programme, you will report for duty with your shift colleagues and build up your skills and experience. Your progression will be continually assessed against levels of competence, and further support will be given to you if you require it during your training.
To celebrate the successful completion of your training, you, your family and friends will be invited to attend an attestation evening where you will swear the oath of a constable and receive your warrant card.
Continuous further development
After you have been attested, you will undergo further training and development to be formally recognised with accredited patrol status; this means you are able to take your place on shift as a fully trained officer and are capable of patrolling and dealing with incidents on your own when required.
Additionally, the force has numerous specialist departments which you may be able to consider an attachment to, which will further enhance your skills.
Continuous development is important in the police service and you will be given opportunities to enhance the skills you develop.
A. No formal qualifications are needed, but you will need to meet all of the eligibility criteria and there will be some written tests. Common sense and good communication skills are helpful. Other useful qualities include dedication, motivation and an ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
Q. What is the recruitment process?
A. We recommend that you attend a specials information seminar to help you to fully understand the recruitment process and the role and responsibilities of being a special.
However, if you feel you are ready to apply and you meet the criteria, you can apply today.
Following a successful application, you will be invited to an assessment centre where you will be asked to complete written tests, an interview and a fitness test.
Each applicant is also subject to successful vetting.
Q. Will my full time employment affect my application?
A. People with certain occupations are excluded from joining the Special Constabulary, such as:
The above list is not exhaustive but generally any occupation in which the powers of a special could be used to some advantage, or where there is conflict with professional duties, may hinder your application. If you are unsure, please can contact us on 0300 122 8900 so we can advise you further.
Q. Can I still join if I have been in trouble with the police?
A. All successful applicants will undergo vetting and each case is considered carefully.
You must, therefore, disclose details of any previous convictions, cautions or mitigation, in the initial application. Such disclosure does not mean you will be automatically eliminated.
Q. Is there an age limit?
A. A special must be aged 18 years or over.
Q. Are there any height requirements?
A. No, there are no height requirements or restrictions to becoming a special.
Q. Is there a fitness test?
A. Yes there is a fitness test which includes a bleep test, push and pull test, as well as your general fitness being assessed. Some people find the fitness test physically challenging so you need to make sure you prepare yourself weeks before an assessment centre. For more information visit the fitness related test page.
Q. Is there an eyesight requirement?
A. Yes. As part of the role you may be required to give evidence, so eyesight and colour perception is important. You will need to meet the minimum eyesight standards for corrected (glasses or contact lenses) and uncorrected vision. For more information go to policecouldyou.co.uk
Q. Do I have to live within Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland?
A. No. However, you should consider the distance you would have to travel to your duty station.
Q. How many hours am I expected to volunteer?
A. On average, specials offer a minimum of four hours per week or 16 hours per month. You will also be expected to commit to policing three major events per year such as a football match or an event at Donington Park.
You can arrange your duties to fit your availability and will get support from your supervisor to help manage your time effectively.
Q. Will it cost me anything to be a special?
A. No. All uniform, training and equipment are provided free of charge. There is no salary payable, but expenses for travel to and from duty are refunded along with a boot allowance and meal expenses in some circumstances. If you live outside of the Leicestershire Police area, travel expenses will only be paid whilst travelling within the force boundary.
Q. How much training will I receive?
A. You will receive full training in all aspects of police work including powers of arrest, preparing evidence for court and officer protection.
The training programme will begin in the classroom and will be delivered over some weekends and weeknights. You will learn about the use of force (e.g. handcuffs, batons, incapacitant spray), first aid and unarmed defensive tactics.
Training then moves to a practical phase and you will go out on patrol with a tutor constable for a period of time.
In the final phase of the programme, you will report for duty with your shift colleagues and build up your skills and experience. The final phase lasts up to 18 months and your progress is continually assessed against defined levels of competence.
On successful completion of the programme, you will be formally recognised with accredited patrol status; youre able to take your place on your shift as a fully trained officer and are capable of patrolling and dealing with incidents on your own when required.
You will have sworn an oath of allegiance, and will hold the same powers as a regular officer.
Q. What uniform and equipment will I get?
A. You will receive the same uniform and equipment as a uniformed police officer. This will be given to you during your induction training.
Q. Where would I work?
A. Generally you will be posted close to where you live. As a volunteer, we would not ask you to work anywhere against your will. Under some circumstances we may exclude you from duty within a certain area and ask you to help somewhere else, but a full explanation would be given.
Q. How would becoming a special benefit me?
A. There are several ways you can benefit from the role, both personally and professionally. You will gain and enhance transferable skills such as leadership and negotiation which you can use in employment elsewhere.
You will have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution in your community as well as:
develop leadership skills
enhance your decision-making and problem-solving skills
gain valuable experiences
challenge yourself and show what you are capable of
improve your communication skills
increase your confidence
learn better team working skills
Promotion within the Special Constabulary can provide opportunities to develop your management and leadership qualities both sort after in other careers.
Q. How do regular officers and specials work together?
A. Specials work alongside and support regular officers to tackle crime in their communities.
Many police officers were once specials themselves, and gained an insight into the job before committing to a full-time career.
Q. Should I tell my employer that I am a special?
A. Yes. There are benefits for your employer as you develop new skills that are transferable to your full time occupation.
We want employers to join the Employer Supported Policing (ESP) scheme. ESP develops a successful partnership between employers, their staff and the police service in order to support the Special Constabulary in helping protect communities and making them a safer place to live.
Q. What if I am unable to work due to an injury received while on duty or a court case?
A. You may be required to attend court or you may sustain an injury while on duty. If you are unable to work because of this, you may apply to the force for loss of earnings. There is also a Legal Fees Insurance Scheme provided by the Home Office which offers protection for certain incidents that arise on duty.
Q. What if I want to help, but not as a police officer?
A. There are other volunteering opportunities within Leicestershire Police such as police support volunteers and cadet leaders.