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A Special's Tale of Two Cities - Could You Be a Special Constable?

5th August 2013

Photograph of A Special's Tale of Two Cities - Could You Be a Special Constable?

Erin Dignan gives an insight into the role of a Special Constable.

Special Constable Erin Dignan is one the first Special Constables to have experienced working in both the Highlands and in Glasgow as part of Police Scotland.

Erin, who is from Inverness always wanted to be a Police Officer from a young age and joined the Special Constable Programme in Glasgow, whilst studying at Glasgow Caledonian University.

She said, "From a young age I had wanted to be a Police Officer, but once I finished school I wanted to go and gain a degree at University. Whist at University, the Special Constable program seemed like an excellent opportunity to gain insight and practical experience into policing while still allowing me to study and gain my degree.

Erin joined as a Special in September 2012, in her second year at University. She finished her training and passed out in November, formally starting her Special Constable duties in Glasgow in December 2012.

Erin described her experiences as a Special Constable working in Glasgow. "When I am working in Glasgow, I work in the west end during the week and the city centre at the weekends. I am also regularly involved in policing other events such as music concerts and the football.

Erin applied to transfer to the Highlands for the summer holidays. She said, "When I am back home in Inverness, I am involved in both response duties, foot patrols and other local events such as Rock Ness and Belladrum festivals.

She continued, "I was really keen to work at Rock Ness as I have personally attended the event for many years, so I was interested to see the event from a policing perspective. I was also interested to see the logistics of such a large event and the involvement the police have with other partner agencies. It also seemed like a great way to engage with the public at such a great local event and I thoroughly enjoyed working at it.

Erin is just about to go into her third year of studying Criminology at Glasgow Caledonian University and finds that her course is very relevant to the roles and nature of Policing. She said, "My course has proven to be particularly relevant to my role as a Special as it focuses on crime, psychology and law.

"I try and work a minimum of two shifts a week which still leaves plenty of time for studying and my social life, which is an important part of uni!

She is passionate about the role: "I love it! I like the unpredictability of the job as well as being able to work within various policing environments and the different approached that may be required. I also enjoy engaging with many members of the communities that I work in.

"Being a Special Constable has given me the opportunity to develop my personnel awareness and social skills by engaging with a wide cross section of the public in various settings. It has also allowed me to develop my confidence and decision making skills as well as develop my understanding of the roles of the Police service.

Erin recommends the experience to others. She says: "Its a great thing to get involved with whether you want to become a Police Constable or just give something back into the community. The opportunities to test yourself both physically and mentally as well as developing your personnel skills are invaluable. My time so far as a Special Constable has certainly confirmed my eagerness to pursue this career.

Sergeant Kurt Anderson said, "Special Constables play an extremely important part in policing Scotland. They assist regular officers in their day-to-day duties forging strong partnerships in the community, patrolling our streets, preventing crime and interacting with all kinds of people.

"Special constables are part-time volunteers who have full police powers and assist our regular officers on the beat and in the heart of our communities. The special constabulary has a long and impressive history and has recently benefited from increased levels of interest from across our communities. Special constables are an excellent bridge between the police service and the public, representing both the communities within the police service and the police service within our communities.

Police Scotland is currently recruiting Special Constables. For more information about becoming a Special Constable, you can visit the police Scotland website http://www.scotland.police.uk/recruitment/special-constables/

or call the recruitment team on 01355 566 350

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