IPSCJ partners with two police forces from the South West to help transform their Special Constabularies

The IPSCJ is working in partnership with Devon & Cornwall and Dorset police forces to devise and implement evidence-based models of working for their Special Constabularies.

The Institute has entered into a strategic partnering relationship with the forces, designed to help ensure that the research work undertaken is effectively translated into practical changes in policy and practice.

In-depth research has been carried out over the past few months by the IPSCJ’s Centre for Citizens in Policing and a first report will be presented to the forces in November.

The IPSCJ team will then work with the two forces to help advise and implement new approaches.

Head of the IPSCJ’s Centre for Citizens in Policing, Dr Iain Britton, who has undertaken fieldwork down in the south-west over the summer months, said:

“The idea is to work in partnership with the forces to develop and improve their approach. So rather than being a separate and somewhat distant academic research outfit, we have instead working very closely with the forces to develop the knowledge-base of ‘what works’ with Special Constables together.”

Dr Britton has carried out extensive interviews with Special Constables from the two forces as well as regular officers and strategic leaders, partnering with Bournemouth University for some of the interviewing in Dorset.

“The interviews have resulted in a lot of insight into how Specials are trained and particularly how they are inducted into the role,” he added.

“The challenges for new volunteers of starting out and doing it for real, integrating into policing teams and building up their practical experience and capability on the job. There is a cluster of issues around this area which have been revealed by the research.

“There are also some interesting considerations about how the Special Constabulary sits with everything else. What is its role in today’s world? How does this complement other aspects of the police? It is impossible to study Special Constables without being truly amazed by the people who are involved, the commitment they make and the contribution they make.

“There are some interesting discussions about how to build on this to create the Special Constabulary models of the future.”

Any forces who may want to work with the IPSCJ on a similar project can contact the team here.