12 October 2015

A year in the life of a Kent Special Constable

Special Constable Tommy McGlone from the Medway Special Support 
Special Constable Tommy McGlone
Special Constable Tommy McGlone
Unit looks back over one of his busiest years as a Special in Kent

Every shift as a Special Constable is different. I work in the Special Support Unit carrying out warrants, dealing with public order incidents and policing football matches and other big public events.

Here’s a recap of my last year in the Kent Special Constabulary – it’s been a pretty eventful one.


Life or death

One of the most daunting calls I attended was a fatal traffic collision.

I was in one of the first patrol cars to arrive at the scene and got out to hold up the car which had overturned. The male driver was unconscious at the wheel and had come off the road. I took him out of the car and started CPR, but sadly, despite our best efforts, he later passed away from his injuries.

Nothing can fully prepare you for what you experience as a Special Constable.

During some shifts, you may find yourself in life or death situations. The training is solid, and prepares you as much as possible. But the rest comes down to your own strength of character.

Helping people at their most vulnerable

I also dealt with a woman trying to jump into the River Medway. I thought fast and restrained her in order to save her, but looking back, I realise how dangerous that situation was.

My colleague and I had to jump over a wall and catch her before she fell into the water, but a few seconds longer and it may have been too late.

She was later sectioned and taken to a mental health unit in Dartford.

That same month I was back at the river again, helping talk a man out of the water who was submerged up to his waist. He’d called the police saying he was going to kill himself.

I’ve had a lot of experience talking to people in situations like that, and was able to use the skills I’d learnt well that night. I quickly built up a rapport with him and after 20 minutes he got out of the river safely.

In and out of uniform

As a Special, just like a regular officer, you have powers of arrest and the authority to police (as appropriate)  whether you’re on duty or not.

I put this to use one night on the way back from a Specials training session when a colleague and I drove past a car that had collided with a tree. We stopped and directed traffic, and attended to the driver who’d injured her neck while we waited for the regular officers and ambulance to arrive.

Volunteer satisfaction

I’ve been a Special for four years now, but this year saw my most satisfying arrest; that of a man who had on him 90 ‘deal’ bags filled with cannabis, a large loose amount of the drug, around £2000 in cash as well as  a machete-type knife and a metal baseball bat. 

That one felt pretty good.

I used to be in the military, but once I left, I felt something was missing. Being a Special has filled that void and more, especially because my team is such a close-knit one.

All I can say is if you want to volunteer and make a difference in your community then there’s no more challenging, exciting or satisfying way to do so than getting involved with Kent Specials.

You can find out more about joining the Kent Special Constabulary by attending our next recruitment event.