An Open Letter to our Special Constables and Volunteers

Actions speak louder than words, don’t they? In a year when pulling together meant staying apart, you answered more of a calling than a call for help when you were needed most.

As members of the Special Constabulary and Volunteers, you do not get paid for the vital service you deliver which makes what you do all the more extraordinary; where the name of the game is not about ‘making a living’ but simply ‘making a difference’.

There are fortunate times like last summer where I bump into some of you finishing a night shift, like you Dan and Phil. You told me at 6am that morning that you both worked ‘day jobs’. You, Dan as a Chemical Worker and you, Phil as a Teacher. Both bright eloquent individuals whose jobs rely on the ability to communicate to a high level, humbly stuck for words when thanked for their civic service. Like I say, actions speak louder than words.

The pandemic meant that you all were also living the emergency that you were being asked to police as volunteers. Emotional detachment from the crisis, so often the refuge of emergency workers was not an option for you – like us all, you were potential victims of this virulent crisis; there was no safe refuge. You did have other options of course; to retreat to the relative safety of your homes, board up windows and like an approaching hurricane, wait for the global pandemic to pass but that wasn’t in your nature.

As a cohort, you are optimists who place yourselves at the centre of society but at the edges of praise. I know how hard you find acclaim for what you do but you deserve every pat on the back and handshake we can’t currently give you. Last week was different where I was able to award a Chief Constable’s Commendation to you, Helen. The fact that you have worked full-time hours as a Special Constable during the last year is nothing short of extraordinary.

Not all of you decide to wear a uniform to volunteer of course, choosing instead to offer your time in different ways such as calling victims of crime.

If I’m ever in need of a reminder that the world is full of good people doing the right thing, I take a look at the work you do, the hours you give and the difference you make. Your colleagues who are full time employees of Cleveland Police appreciate your vital contribution and whilst they may not know it, the public benefit enormously from your work too.

Our current recruitment campaign is open for Special Constables, and I would encourage people to apply, we would like our special constabulary to represent the diversity of our communities.

To give one’s time in the service of others is a worthy act indeed and we’re lucky to have you.

Diolch / Thank you

#IAmPhil #IAmDan #IAmHelen

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