Special Constable Will Liley describes how a Special Constable can play a role in tackling drug crime
One of my most memorable experiences since becoming a Special Constable took place a few months back on a busy Friday evening in Maidstone town centre.
I was taking part in an operation to crack down on drug use among pub and club goers; we visit local social hot-spots, swabbing and testing surfaces for signs of drugs. Sometimes we’ll swab customers too!
That night, I was in plain clothes acting as a ‘spotter’. This means watching people’s reactions as they’re approached by uniformed officers patrolling with sniffer dogs.
I was looking out for people who’d immediately turn and walk away, or who’d shiftily play with their pockets – all tell-tale signs they’re hiding something.
Trying to escape
I saw a group of four men stood by a fast food restaurant in Week Street. I watched closely as the officers got closer, sniffer dogs trotting keenly by their sides.
The men froze as soon as they saw them; in a split-second, they’d made a run for it.
I knew exactly what I had to do.
Sprinting after them, I shouted out that I was a police officer and called for them to stop; unsurprisingly, they just ignored me.
The four split up, disappearing through a maze of side roads. I focused on one man, carrying a bag. As I chased him he got quicker and quicker, and I began struggling to keep up.
He grabbed at his bag and hurled it into a nearby wheelie bin. He stumbled, having performed the move at great speed, giving me the extra couple of seconds I needed to catch up. Finally I caught him!
A great feeling
We fell to the ground as he tried to break free, but I secured him with hand cuffs and placed him under arrest.
My colleagues had seen me give chase and were following closely behind. One of the team pulled the bag from the bin; we found drugs, drug paraphernalia and a wallet so full of cash it barely closed.
Later on, his three friends were found and arrested too.
With the offender back in custody, my job was only partly done. His address had to be searched and paperwork completed.
Being a special is a varied and exciting volunteer role. You learn to think quickly on your feet and are driven by a need to protect those in your community from harm.
The great result that night left me with a feeling of real satisfaction. I’d say to anyone reading this, ask yourself: 'Could I do something really Special?'
Want to find out more about becoming a Special Constable? Get details of the next Specials recruitment event in Swale on Thursday 23 July.