12 December 2012

Focus on... Special Constable Mark Hadley

Mark Hadley
Special Constable in North Kent
Communications Officer, Kent Police Force Control Room

I’m based at north Kent and a typical day as a Special for me starts when I attend the station and am briefed on what is going on in the area that day. I’ll then take a vehicle and proactively patrol in key areas where there may have been problems overnight or where I know issues such as anti-social behaviour can occur. I’ll keep an ear out for any incoming calls and attend where needed.

One of things you have to do to get your ‘independent operational status’ as a Special is carry out an arrest, which I was nervous about and determined to get right. After some advice from my tutor I successfully carried out the arrest.

My most memorable 'job' began while I was dealing with a theft of a purse in Gillingham. While giving an elderly lady advice about cancelling her cards, a call came in about a burglary in process.

I was only around the corner so my colleague and I made our way to the address. At the scene, a neighbour told us the burglars had entered the property through the back door so we called more officers to attend to cover all exits. While other officers found one man at the rear of the property, my colleague let me in the front and, with our batons in hand, we searched the rest of the property for the reported second man. Our initial search showed no result so I positioned myself at the front door to make sure no one came in or out with authorisation. While other colleagues dealt with the arrest at the back of the property, I saw a window of what must have been a cellar open and a man began to climb out. The training kicked in and I ordered the man to come through the window slowly and turn away so I could cuff him and arrest him for burglary. More experienced officers said what a good result it was, and how rare it is to catch a burglar still in the house. The man was later charged and sentenced, so a good result!

The best thing about being a Special is meeting a variety of people from all walks of life. As a Special you go to so many types of jobs and you see so many things. These are all learning curves and you always have to be on your toes. You obviously get the information from the initial call but when you arrive it could actually be something completely different. Sometimes you have to reassess the situation and think of ‘Plan B’. The adrenaline rush you feel when you are on the way to your calls never goes! I have attended many incidents in the time I have served and the adrenaline is still the same as the first job I attended.

To be a Special, communication skills are a must! If you cannot talk to people easily, it really isn’t the job for you. You need to also be able to stay open minded as you hear many sides of stories and need to base your judgement on all of them.  You must be able to empathise when people come to you with their concerns and you need to respect people’s views whether you agree or not - just listening to that person may make all the difference.