Sixty-six Special Constables who have volunteered almost 24,000 hours of their time in the last 12 months in Colchester, have been recognised by the town’s Mayor with awards for their dedication to policing the town.
The Specials were invited to a presentation event jointly organised by the Safer Colchester Partnership and Essex Police, at Colchester Town Hall, on March 5, where the Mayor, Cllr Peter Chillingworth, thanked them for their bravery and commitment to keeping the borough safe.
Special awards were presented to 15 officers by Mayor Chillingworth and Adrian Prichard, Chief Executive of Colchester Borough Council, in the first event of its kind to be held at a local level in Essex.
There are 66 Special Constables based in Colchester who, combined, have volunteered 24,000 hours to protect others. Throughout the year, their voluntary contribution provided the equivalent of an extra 14 full time police officers in the borough.
In the past year alone, the Colchester Specials made 211 arrests and attended more than 6,650 incidents, including 200 road traffic accidents, and have spent 700 hours searching for missing people. They also completed 123 domestic abuse risk assessments and 72 child safeguarding referrals.
The Mayor of Colchester, Cllr Peter Chillingworth, said: “I would like to thank all of the Special Constables for their enthusiasm, professionalism and selfless commitment to making the borough safer for residents and visitors.
“Their dedication and bravery is evidence, if ever it were needed, that those who volunteer as Special Constables really can make a difference to the communities in which they serve.”
Superintendent Simon Anslow, Head of Essex Police’s Special Constabulary, said: “Our Specials are the heroes that talk people down from bridges; that step into danger; that run towards it when others walk away; that get hurt but come back again and again because policing and protecting others is in their DNA – it’s who they are and it’s a form of greatness.
“Without them, someone dialling 999 would have to wait that bit longer; the reassuring presence on the High Street on a Friday night might not be there; the vulnerable missing person might not be found in time; a knife being carried might not be recovered.
“They’re a genuine part of Colchester and they care passionately about keeping their area safe. They’re well deserving of the local recognition and I hope that others will be attracted to join them.”
Special Constables are asked to volunteer at least 16 operational hours per month. The Colchester Specials volunteer an average of 31.5 hours each.
Special Constables have the same powers as Police Constables but give their time freely to help in their community. For more information on becoming a Special Constable visit: www.essex.police.uk/specials