My New Skills as a Special Constable: A Case Study
Dinny Landen combines her day-time work as a beautician with her role as a special constable. “People always seem surprised that I’m a special constable but I love it and it has taught me valuable new skills.”
Dinny split up with her then partner four years ago and was looking for something to do with her time. She saw an advertisement for local special constables and decided that she would like to find out more. “I did think about joining the police at one point but then was drawn to working with nails and make up. I liked the sound of the ad for special constables and just thought I’d go along.”
Tough application processThe open day only convinced Dinny that she would like to apply to become a special constable, despite the daunting application process. “I’ve always liked a challenge” her eyes twinkle. She had to undergo a medical and have her eyesight tested. “Luckily I value my health and keep fit with regular gym sessions. That has stood me in good stead throughout my time as a special.”
She also had to undergo interviews and extensive background checks. It is important that special constables enjoy a good reputation within their community and are known not to have any connections with criminals or criminal activity. “It is quite thorough and some people might find it intrusive. I didn’t mind as I have nothing to hide.” Her local police force also checked up on her parents and brother and paid a home visit. They also ran a financial check to ensure that Dinny was free of debt.
Assessment Day“That was just the beginning” Dinny laughs. She then had to attend a special assessment day when she was tested on areas such as leadership, confidence and bravery. There was also a written test, the PIRT (Police Initial Recruitment Test) and a fitness test which Dinny passed with flying colours. “I was so relieved to get through it all and be assigned to my station.”
TrainingSince then Dinny has received thorough training. “I have learned so much including communication skills and dealing with difficult people. I use this every day in my work as a beautician too. And my experience as a special constable and being around regular police has taught me how to handle myself around all different kinds of people.”
Other skills which Dinny has learned include self-defence and this is something which she has had practical cause to use. “Yes, it has come in handy dealing with the odd thug or two. Luckily, I have very rarely had to use it but it does give me confidence to know that I have these tools available.”
Other essential parts of her training were in the powers of arrest and in giving evidence in court. Both of these are important as Special Constables enjoy the same powers of arrest as the regular police.
A sense of achievementOnce training was over Dinny was issued with her Special Constable uniform “It felt like such an achievement the first time I got to wear my uniform.”
Dinny enjoys patrolling on foot and has got to know many members of her local community. “Hopefully they see me as a friendly face and someone they can come to if there are problems or difficulties.” She also enjoys going in to schools to give talks on road safety and stranger danger. “The biggest skill being a special constable has given me is confidence. I can handle myself in a wide variety of situations and have a lot of self-belief thanks to the training and the experience of working as a Special Constable.”