West Midlands Police praise the work of their Special Constables

West Midlands Police has praised the dedication of its Special Constabulary after volunteer officers led an operation that netted a dozen illegal cars and resulted in four arrests − including a man on the run for three years.

Twenty 'Specials' joined forces with traffic cops on the overnight offensive − from 7pm on Friday 22nd September until 3am on Saturday 23rd September − using number plate recognition technology to identify suspect vehicles in Birmingham city centre.

A total of 13 vehicles were seized − including a Nissan Qashqai stolen during a burglary in August − while three people were arrested for drunk-driving and another who’d evaded capture since July 2014 having skipped court bail on a criminal damage charge.

West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Sarah Boycott joined the operation. She said:

"Our Special Constabulary works side-by-side with regular officers, supporting the force as part of the mainstream policing mix − and exercises like this underline what a hugely valuable role they play.

"This was a really successful operation: 12 vehicles were seized for being uninsured, a stolen car was recovered and potentially very dangerous drivers taken off the road. The large number of officers in the city centre will undoubtedly have also deterred criminality and provided public reassurance. 

"I want to thank all of the volunteers in our Special Constabulary for the commitment they make to helping keep people safe in the West Midlands − plus thanks to the CCTV operators, Central Motorway Police Group staff and regular officers who swapped shifts and arranged logistics to enable the smooth running of the operation." 

Men aged 21 and 39 − from Hastings and Northfield respectively − were charged with drink driving while a 59-year-old man was released without charge. A 24-year-old man from Shirley was charged with failing to appear at court and appeared before magistrates on Saturday. West Midlands Police Special Constabulary Chief Officer, Mike Rogers, added:

"The Special Constabulary attracts people from a wide cross section of the community with different attributes, views and experiences…people who can potentially influence policing and bring fresh thinking. 

"We have a very talented mix of people in our Special Constabulary, including pilots, NHS staff, a firefighter, factory staff and lawyers. We’re always keen to hear from people who want to join our ranks.

"It sounds clichéd but no two shifts are the same: you never know what you’ll encounter, there’s a chance to get involved in operations, it looks good on the CV, and helps expand and develop your skills."

Anyone aged from 18- to 65-years-old can apply to join the Special Constabulary. They must be physically fit, have no criminal convictions, and must commit to a 17-week training period before being sworn-in. People employed in some professions, including anyone with a liquor licence or pub/club door staff, are prohibited from becoming a Special.

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 four hours each week, or more if they can spare the time.

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