13 December 2012

Focus on... Special Constable Ross Smith

Ross Smith

39  |  Special Constable in Maidstone  |  IT manager

A 'typical' day
After finishing work at my day job I head to Maidstone Police Station, put my uniform on and meet up with my colleagues.

If I’ve been allocated to a specific operation, I’ll attend the briefing. Otherwise I’ll meet with the neighbourhood sergeant to get my taskings for the evening. This could be town centre patrol or being sent to an area for a particular operation, investigation or intelligence gathering.

After being allocated my tasking, I’ll pair up with another officer and head out on patrol, on foot or in the car and see what unfolds!

Recent arrest
On Saturday night last week, I was part of an operation to crack down on drugs in the town centre. I went out with a group of other Specials and carried out random swabbing at local pubs/clubs. We took the swabs back to the station for analysis and from this, we could tell what types of drugs may be being used and where.

With the swab analysis complete, I met up with a passive drugs dog and his handler in the high street and patrolled with them. It didn’t take long before the dog positively identified potential suspects so we searched a number of people and arrested one man for possession of illegal drugs. We took him back to the station, booked him into custody and completed the paperwork. That arrest wasn’t the only one of the night so it turned out to be a very successful operation.

After a short break, we headed back out to police the busy night time town centre.

Most memorable ‘job’
One of my most memorable jobs was a drugs raid one evening in a pub. I attended the briefing and was told by the sergeant I would be actively involved in the op which was exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time! Everyone was quiet in the van on the way to the pub and tension was high as everyone prepared themselves for the raid. Suddenly it was go, go, go and we all ran into the party where it was dark and the music was loud. I headed to my allocated point by the toilets and searched them. When I pushed open a cubicle door I saw two men involved in what appeared to be a drug deal.

My training kicked in and I got them both out of the cubicle but not before I saw one of them throw a bag behind the toilet.

I didn’t let them know that I had seen this and began explaining calmly that they had nothing to worry about and that we were doing a licencing check on the pub. I stalled them while covertly calling for assistance - two of them, one of me, that’s what was on my mind! Two colleagues joined me and I told them what I had seen so we arrested and handcuffed the two men.

Back in the van on the way to custody with the two men, I felt a huge sense of relief and pride. By keeping calm, I had got the two arrests for the night, without any struggle or anyone getting hurt. When I got home, I couldn’t sleep - I was so excited by what had just happened!

Thinking of joining?
If you’re thinking about becoming a Special, I’d definitely say go for it! I went to a recruitment open day and found out a little more about the role and what would be expected of me. Then spoke to my wife about what I would be required to commit and after deciding together it wouldn’t impact on my family life in a negative way, I applied. As soon as I started the training I knew I was going to enjoy the role. I have never looked back since!

The best thing about being a Special is when you see you have made a difference – it’s very rewarding. Also the people around you become like a second family - everyone looks out for each other and you are part of the team. Even though, as a Special, you are not there as much as the regulars, you are never excluded.

Being a Special constable has given me a lot back that I could never have got from another ‘normal’ job. The life skills you get from the training and being out interacting with people is immense. You build confidence in yourself and your abilities to think clearly in stressful situations. I still think it’s odd that now I run towards incidents that I used to step back from! The training is tough, but the rewards make it all worthwhile.

To find out more about the Specials in Maidstone, check out my colleague Special Constable Rachael Jarman's blog.