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Leigh-on-Sea Town Council 1996

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Community Special Constables Scheme

Leigh-on-Sea Town Council has its own Special Constable who is close to completing his full training.  Special Constable Imbush will be patrolling the Leigh Town Council area soon as part of the Council's continued efforts to help combat crime and disorder in the area. The Town Council has however assigned funding for up to five Special Constables so could you be the next to join.


A New Special Constable for Leigh


Leigh-on-Sea Town Council is welcoming its first Community Special Constable, teacher William Imbush has lived in the area for most of his life and when he’s not teaching, he plays football in local leagues, and also enjoys racquet sports and running.

He said: “I am thrilled to be taking on the role of Community Special Constable in Leigh-on-Sea. I have lived here for most of my life and I take pride in being part of the town. The community spirit and culture has always stood out. I have taken on this role to ensure that Leigh-on-Sea continues to have a visible police presence to ensure it keeps the reputation of being a safe and friendly town. I look forward to serving the local community and establishing strong relationships." 

Volunteer police officers under the Community Special Constable scheme work closely with their own sponsoring town and parish councils, which fund all the expenses incurred for duties performed within their area.

They are committed to policing the area which pays for them, to identify and address local issues of concern. However, if a major incident occurs, they may be called on to help in another area of the county.

Special Constable Imbush is being sponsored by Leigh-on-Sea Town Council. 

Councillor Doug Cracknell, said: “We recognise that it is no mean feat to get through the initial training and make the grade and witnessing William’s attestation was a reminder of the importance the volunteer Specials make to the wider police service.”

Town Clerk Helen Symmons said: “The council is delighted to welcome its first Community Special Constable.

“We were one of the first to sign up to this countywide initiative for town and parish councils back in 2018 and it still remains a service that the current administration is passionate about delivering, so we are thrilled that William wishes to serve his community. The council will be giving William as much support as possible to help him start building community relationships and understand local issues ready for when he officially starts his role. “We also have another volunteer awaiting a course date and hope in due course a second Community Special Constable will be able to join William.”

Southend District Commander Chief Inspector Ian Hughes said: “Over the last few months there have been some issues in Leigh and Old Leigh with anti-social behaviour and violent crime, which has been caused by a small minority of people spoiling the area for the wider community. Neither we nor residents and our partners will tolerate this and we’ve been working together as a community to take action against troublemakers and criminals. At a time when community policing has never been so important, it is fantastic that Leigh Town Council has supported the introduction of William into their community to help people, keep people safe and to catch criminals. Partnership working is so important and William will play a key role in building close relationships within the community to understand and address what matters most to residents.”

Jenny Brouard, Essex Police Citizens in Policing commander, added: “I’d like to wish William all the best in his role, and to thank Leigh-on-Sea Town Council for their support and great partnership working with Essex Police. Special Constables are volunteers who have the same full police powers, uniform and equipment and work alongside their regular colleagues attending and dealing with a wide variety of incidents. Community Special Constables work almost exclusively in their sponsoring parish concentrating on issues specific to that area. 

We are always looking for more volunteers to join the Special Constabulary, whether they want to become a Community Special Constable dedicated to their local town or parish or police a little further afield.

What is a Special Constable?

Special constables are volunteer police officers with the same powers as regular officers. Specials spend approximately four hours a week supporting the police to tackle crime in their communities. (Duty hours may vary from force to force.)

Specials are recruited locally by all 43 Home Office police forces in England and Wales. They work in partnership with regular officers and the wider policing family, such as Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

Who can be a Special Constable? 

The basic requirements are:

  • You must either be a national of a country within the European Economic Area or, if not, have leave to remain in the UK free of restrictions.
  • You must be at least 18 years old when making your application.
  • You should be in good health, and of good character.
  • You must be able to speak and write English competently.

You must not: 

  • Be registered bankrupt, subject to CCJs or IVAs
  • Omit to declare any offences or 'spent' convictions
  • Have defaulted accounts
  • Ideally not have been convicted or cautioned for a serious arrestable offence
  • Applicants who have received cautions, reprimands, formal warnings and final warnings will not be considered until a full five years from the date of the sanction

What do Special Constables do? 

Specials take part in frontline police work. They can spend much of their time on the streets, doing intelligence-based patrols in crime hotspots or taking part in crime-prevention initiatives. This could mean anything from keeping town centres safe at night to conducting house-to-house enquiries or helping prevent vulnerable members of the community from becoming victims of crime.

It is hard, demanding work - but from your first time on duty you will see the impact you are having. It is also extremely varied, and you could easily find yourself doing any of the following:

Ensuring public safety

  • Assisting at the scene of accidents, fires or incidents - helping control situations, ensuring people are safe.
  • Providing security and crowd control at major public events - preventing injuries and disorder.

 Preventing crime

  • Carrying out high-visibility foot patrols to deter and detect criminals.
  • Educating businesses and the community about crime and how to avoid it to reduce crime and people's fear of it happening.
  • Talking to schoolchildren about crime reduction and community safety to help them stay safe and make the right choices.

Tackling crime

  • Confronting anti-social behaviour on the streets such as gangs or intimidating behaviour.
  • Managing alcohol-related incidents such as public drunkenness or violence.
  • Enforcing road safety laws in local communities.

Investigating crime

  • Conducting house-to-house enquiries to gather information and support larger enquiries.
  • Taking part in police operations to disrupt and arrest offenders.

Securing convictions

  • Presenting evidence in court to support the justice system in prosecuting offenders.

How do you become a Special Constable? 

To become a Special Constable you must first apply through your local police force. 

Read a copy of there Application Guide for the full details and to check your eligibility. 

Step 1: Make an initial application through the Essex Police Website

Step 2: You will be invited to an assessment centre to complete a fitness test, competency based interview and take 4 written exams. Results will be posted within two weeks 

Step 3: Pre-Employment checks will take place, you will need to attend a medical examination, provide DNA and fingerprints, provide information about yourself and attend an induction day. 

Step 4: To become a Special Constable you must undertake 20 days of classroom based training before you can be attested. This can be done either as an intensive course which is Monday to Friday over 4 weeks, or on alternative weekends for 20 weeks.

Step 5: After 20 days of training you will be attested in front of a Magistrate and receive your warrant card, plus full policing powers.  

Special Constables: Disspelling the Myths 

  • Special Constables DO have all the same access to training, equipment and opportunities as regular police officers 
  • Special Constables DO have the same powers as regular police officers
  • Special Constables CAN drive police vehicles
  • There is NO minimum time requirement that a Special Constable must complete 
  • Special Constables CAN be a part of specialised teams, such as marine, operational, support, drones, search, dogs
  • There is NO upper age limit to be a Special Constable 
  • Special Constables have NO paperwork to complete
  • Training and support IS ongoing for Special Constables with an excellent support network in place
  • Workplaces often ALLOW their staff to undertake 8 hours of volunteering a month as part of their normal working day

Why do you want to become a Special Constable? 

  • Do you want to be more pro-active in your Community? 
  • Do you want a pathway into the regular police force?
  • Do you want to volunteer for an exciting role? 
  • Do you want to fulfill childhood aspirations? 
  • Do you have transferable skills from your day job that you want to use to help your Community? 
  • Do you want to add a career booster to your CV?
  • Do you want to have access to leadership opportunities? 

Why does Leigh-on-Sea Town Council need Special Constables? 

  • To have an active police presence within the Town
  • To help tackle and deter anti-social behaviour around the Town 
  • To help deter break in's and burglaries 
  • To deter a gang culture among youths, in turn preventing drug misuse, grafitti, vandalism and other crimes