Special clocks up miles by putting brakes on crime suspects

A volunteer is clocking up the miles - and arrests - to help West Midlands Police monitor the region’s roads and catch suspected crooks.

Special Constable Luke Cherry regularly offers more than 50 hours a month to support officers from the force’s road policing unit. The 32-year-old works as an operations assistant in the Central Motorway Police control centre and became so immersed in the work of cops he now provides hours of his free time to help protect the public.

Since signing up to the Special Constabulary more than 12 years ago Luke has made scores of arrests; ranging from suspicion of vehicle theft, burglary, possessing drugs to attempted murder. This includes 60 in the last three years as he identifies suspects who use the motorways and region’s routes as an escape from their illegal behaviour.

Luke has been one of the first on the scene of serious, sometimes fatal collisions, and has used compassion to provide some comfort at distressing times.

The dedication and kindness of Luke saw him recently crowned the force’s Special Constable of the Year. He said:

"I have always had a great admiration for police officers and what they do to try and protect us. This is my way of doing something to help. I take great pride and satisfaction in being a Special and have learned so many new life skills along the way. 

"I have had the privilege of working on a specialist department such as the roads policing unit working with a hard-working, professional, dedicated team tackling serious organised criminals."

Inspector Sion Hathaway, from roads policing, added: "The professionalism and commitment of Luke is truly outstanding. He thinks nothing of staying on beyond his shift to assist with an arrest and always puts others first." 

The force receives invaluable support from all its Specials who last year volunteered over 30,000 hours of voluntary service. This includes helping neighbourhood teams, front line response teams, helping the most vulnerable victims in public protection, CID and operations.

The Force is due to increase its numbers of special constables ahead of the region hosting major events such as the Commonwealth Games in 2022. 

Specials have the same powers as regular officers and wear the same uniform; hours are flexible but they are required to volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a month, or more if they can spare the time.


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