Volunteers' Week shines a light on selfless contribution of Special Constabulary
Sussex Police is marking Volunteers' Week by celebrating the incredible contribution made by its Special Constabulary.
During the coronavirus pandemic and all year round, these volunteers put themselves on the frontline not for pay or material reward, but to support the work of the force in keeping people safe.
Special Constables have volunteered more than 6,100 hours since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown period, which makes up some of the astonishing 26,181 hours contributed by Specials from May 2019 to April 2020 inclusive.
They include Gio Manzella, who has been volunteering full time with Sussex Police during lockdown having been furloughed from his main job as an aircraft broker. Working with Crawley response, he has helped arrest a man suspected of dealing drugs near a school and rescued a man from a car which set alight after a collision.
Wealden Special Constables Steve Wood, Chris Pring and Andrew Jelinek (pictured above) have contributed more than 100 hours each since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, with duties including Op Blitz patrols tackling anti-social behaviour and responding to calls about coronavirus restriction breaches. They also made arrests for drink driving, breach of the peace and domestic violence, as well as dealing with offences relating to drugs and fraud.
Special Constable Julie Rainey has continued to balance her full-time job at the RNLI with her voluntary role working within the Safeguarding Investigations Unit in Brighton. During the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been part of a team reaching out to support the most vulnerable victims of domestic abuse, sexual offences and stalking.
Assistant Chief Constable Julia Chapman said: “I would like to thank all our Special Constables for the significant difference they make to people’s lives in so many ways including; protecting the public from harm, investigating offences, problem solving, and building trust and relationships with the public and partner agencies.
"As volunteers from the community they really have the ability to empathise and engage with those they help and the fact they do this in their own time is even more powerful.”
Specials Weekend (June 5 - June 7) will be celebrated across the force by highlighting the great work of the Special Constabulary.
A 'Response Take Over' is being organised in Uckfield whereby Special Constables will staff the Uckfield response team for an entire shift. Police Constables will be on hand to support should the need arise, but will otherwise be freed up to complete necessary paperwork and administration jobs.
Currently, more than 10 experienced Special Constables have volunteered to take part, with a range of different skills between them.
Similarly in Brighton, a Divisional Support Team made up of Special Constables with a wide range of specialist training will be supporting the division with a mix of prevention and response work.
Throughout Volunteers' Week and Specials Weekend, Special Constables who are working alongside their usual teams will be encouraged to tweet and promote the good work being done by volunteers across the force.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Special Constables have been involved in policing Sussex since 1831 and are an integral part of policing in the modern world.
“They are a unique and tenacious group of people who give their time for free and bring a wealth of experience and diversity to the Sussex Police workforce.
“I would like to thank all of our special constables in Sussex for volunteering their services and helping to make our communities a safer place to live and work.”