Special Constables: giving back to local communities

By Les Hawkins, Lead for ESPS, Essex Police
Many employers will have heard about, or taken part in, the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which allows staff who are military reservists paid time off to fulfil those duties. But why aren’t they doing the same for policing?
Published in Essex Director Magazine Autumn|Winter 2022

Giving Back: Employer Supported Policing

Special Constables are volunteers who want to give something back to their local communities, making them safer places to live and work. They are fully warranted police officers, who have the same powers and responsibilities as their full-time colleagues, and even wear the same uniform and carry the same equipment. The only difference? Special Constables do all of this in their spare time.

As an employer, you can make it easier on your staff by allowing them to protect and serve their county during their working hours.

What is Employer Supported Policing?

Employer Supported Policing (ESP) is a national scheme owned by The Home Office and benefits both businesses and the Special Constables employed by them.

It’s a simple, yet powerful, partnership between employers and the police that asks one simple thing of employers; to allow their staff paid time off to carry out their duties as a Special Constable, in the communities where they live or work. The scheme is completely bespoke in order to suit the individual requirements of any business, and most importantly, there is no set requirement and no contractual obligation on businesses who register.

What are the benefits to the employer?

Having a Special Constable within your workforce can bring benefits to your teams and your overall business. For instance:

  • The ESP scheme provides a fantastic opportunity to enhance a company’s reputation around CSR and community engagement.
  • Special Constables are widely regarded by employers as being more committed, dependable, confident and responsible in the workforce.
  • The unique experience of being a volunteer police officer offers a level of staff development which cannot be bought commercially.
  • The police training the employees receive gives them many new skills – such as first aid, crisis management, leadership and effective communication – that they can bring back to their workplace.

What is a Special Constable?

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Perry Woolner works full time as a Commercial Customer Manager with Wave Utilities. In his spare time he is a Special Constable with Essex Police where he is a member of the Roads Policing Team, as well as being a police search specialist. His employer is an ESP partner, fully supporting his police volunteer role, which allows greater flexibility for his police duties. Perry says: “Wave allow me 10 days a year on top of my annual leave entitlement to undertake police duties. I feel suitably supported and a lot of the senior management, directors included, are genuinely keen to understand what I get up to; obviously some bits I can’t mention, suffice to say, they are content with what I can tell them!”

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Les Hawkins is Essex Police Lead on the Employer Supported Policing Scheme. If you would like an opportunity to discuss how the ESP scheme could benefit your company and the local community
T: 01245 452555 / 07973 671677
E: les.hawkins1@essexpolice.uk
Or visit www.essex.police.uk and search for ‘employer supported policing’

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