A special constable from Brighton is backing a recruitment drive by Sussex Police to swell the ranks of volunteers on the beat.
Colin Tribe, who works at Brighton Marina, volunteers with the Brighton and Hove Neighbourhood Policing Team.
He said: “I joined Sussex Police as a special constable five years ago because I wanted to contribute to making Sussex a safer place and have always wanted to see if I could meet the challenge of being a uniformed police officer.
“I volunteer regularly in my own time because the satisfaction I get out of making my community a safer and more pleasant environment is immeasurable.
“The thing I enjoy the most is knowing I am making a difference to the quality of people’s lives.
“The support I get from my full-time employer to volunteer as a special constable shows their dedication to giving something back to the community that we live and work in.
“This is further repaid by the enhanced training and professionalism that I then bring back to my day job.”
Sussex Police is looking for 120 recruits to start on training courses being run next year to become a special constable.
More than 380 people currently spend the minimum of four hours a week as volunteer police officers serving their local community in the county.
Many are in neighbourhood policing teams but specials can also train to undertake specialist roles in response and road policing.
They have the same powers and much of the same training as full-time officers.
Special constables devote a minimum of 16 hours a month, supporting local police teams, gaining experience and skills and learning about many aspects of police work.
In-depth training is provided covering the police service, the duties of a police officer, powers of arrest and common crimes, how to prepare evidence for court and personal safety.
Assistant Chief Constable Robin Merrett said: “These volunteers have the same powers and often face the same decisions as regular police officers.
“Working as a special constable gives members of the community the opportunity to get right into the heart of Sussex Police and ultimately the communities we serve so we are looking for people all across the county for this role.
“As the lead for volunteers and special constables in Sussex I’m extremely proud of all those who give up their time to work alongside our policing teams, together they have volunteered nearly 60,000 hours since the beginning of this year.
“Their commitment and enthusiasm is admirable.”
Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne said: “I am delighted to be opening recruitment for 120 special constables as I am a huge advocate of the benefits of volunteering and of communities getting involved in keeping their local areas safe.
“These volunteer officers are a unique group of people who give their time for free to help keep Sussex safe and they bring experience and diversity to the workforce.
“It was my election pledge to further increase and encourage volunteering in Sussex and increasing the number of special constables is a significant part of this.
“Greater police visibility is one of the things the public speak to me about the most.
“These officers will help to achieve the objectives within the Police and Crime Plan of building safer communities, increasing police visibility, improving public confidence and focusing positively on victims.”
To find out more about what it’s like to volunteer as a special constable and how to make an application visit www.sussexspecials.com.
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