We have a new website with a fresh range of services available. You can visit it here and let us know what you think.

In an emergency always call 999

Q. What do Specials do?

  • Patrols to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour.
  • Providing reassurance to local communities by talking with members of the public.
  • Contribute to policing busy town centres during evenings and weekends.
  • Respond with officers to incidents reported by members of the public.
  • Working as members of local Safer Neighbourhood Teams within our communities offering crime prevention advice and visiting local schools.
  • Policing local events including football matches, parades and charity events.
  • Raising awareness of force initiatives and campaigns. 

Q. What does it take to be a special?

To join the Special Constabulary no formal qualifications are needed, but you will be expected to successfully pass the recruitment process and meet all of the eligibility criteria. Common sense and good communication skills are helpful. Other useful qualities include dedication, motivation and an ability to remain calm in stressful situations.

Q. What are the eligibility requirements to be a Special Constable?

Be of British nationality, a commonwealth citizen or citizen of the Irish Republic, and in good health and of good character. You may apply to become a Special Constable from the age of 18. You must also have lived in the UK for the last three years.

Q. How much time is a Special Constable expected to commit?

As a Special Constable in Derbyshire, you are asked to commit an average minimum of four hours per week on a regular basis. However, if your other commitments allow, you can do more than four hours.

Due to the investment required in every person who undertakes the Specials training, we expect each candidate to serve a minimum of 12 months with Derbyshire Constabulary as a Special.

Q. How long does the application process take?

We aim to process applications as quickly and efficiently as possible and will keep applicants informed at all stages of the process.

Q. How long does the training take?

As a Special Constable in Derbyshire you can choose between weekends or mid-week training courses. Whichever you choose, your initial course is covered in 22 days of training. The sessions can take place over 11 weekends or just over four weeks. Once at a station, you will be required to attend further training classes to expand your knowledge of the law.

Q. How much training will I receive?

The role of constable is a demanding one and as you would expect our training must be comprehensive and effective. The programme takes you through basic law, powers of arrest, police and court practices and evidence. Training then moves to a practical phase going out on accompanied patrol. You will then move to the final phase where you report for duty with your shift colleagues and build up your skills and experience. This final phase lasts up to 18 months and throughout you are assessed as to your progress against defined levels of competence. On successful completion of the programme, you will be formally recognised with independent patrol status - able take your place on your shift as fully trained and capable of patrolling and dealing with incidents on your own when required.

Q. Will it cost me anything?

No. All uniform, training and equipment are provided free of charge. There is no salary payable, but expenses for travel to and from duty are refunded along with a ‘boot allowance’ and meal expenses in some circumstances.

Q. Will I get any allowances or expenses?

Special Constables in Derbyshire get an annual allowance of £75.00 which is subject to a number of hours being performed over the course of the year. You will also be provided with your uniform and travelling expenses.

Q. What uniform and equipment will I get?

You will receive the same uniform and equipment as a uniformed police officer during your induction training.

Q. Am I too short?

No. There are no height restrictions to becoming a special.

Q. Do I need perfect eyesight?

As part of the role you may be required to give evidence, so eyesight and colour perception is important. The wearing of force-issued spectacles or contact lenses are permitted but the degree of eyesight correction must only be slight. Please call the recruiting team if you require further information or clarification.

Q. Where would I work?

Generally, you will be posted to a Local Policing Unit close to where you live. As a volunteer, we would not ask you to work anywhere against your will. Under some circumstances we may exclude you from duty within a certain area and ask you to help somewhere else, but a full explanation would be given.

Q. How do 'regular officers' react to specials?

Special Constables are welcomed for the support they bring to the force. Many police officers were once special constables themselves, gaining an insight into the job before committing themselves to a full-time career.

Q. Can I join the regulars if I’m a special?

Derbyshire Constabulary believes in giving everybody the same opportunity. You would receive no preferential treatment if you had once worked as a special. However, the training and experience you gain as a Special can help to develop those skills that are needed to be a full-time regular police officer.

Q. Should I tell my employer?

Yes. There are benefits for your employer too in terms of your developing new skills that are transferable to your full-time occupation. It is also important to be aware that the EC working time directive (which seeks to control how many hours we all work) is applicable to your voluntary work as well as your full-time employment.

Q. Are there any occupations a Special Constable cannot hold?

As Special Constables possess the powers and privileges of a regular Constable even when not in uniform, it is necessary to minimise the risk that they may be pressed to abuse their powers whilst off duty. The Home Office has identified a number of occupations where there may be a conflict of interest with the role of Special Constables. In view of this, applicants who are employed in these capacities would not be eligible for appointment to the Special Constabulary. In addition, any serving Special Constable obtaining employment in an ineligible occupation should report to the Chief Constable and would be required to resign from the Specials.

Some of the ineligible roles include Traffic Wardens, School Crossing Patrols, Magistrates, Clerks to Justice of Courts, Licensees, Security Personnel and Private Detectives. A full list is available upon request by telephoning 0300 3301330.

Q. I have epilepsy, can I still join?

All candidates medical health is considered on an individual basis, in confidence with the Occupational Health Team. If you would like to get in touch with the medical health professionals in the Occupational Health Team using the 101 number, they will be able to offer individual advice.

Q. Can I apply if I'm colour blind?

All candidate's medical health is considered on an individual basis, in confidence with the Occupational Health Team. If you would like to get in touch with the medical health professionals in the Occupational Health Team using the 101 number, they will be able to offer individual advice.

Q. I have tattoos. Can I still join?

Tattoos are not a bar to appointment. However, some tattoos could potentially offend members of the public or colleagues, or could bring discredit to the police service. It depends on their size, nature and location, and sometimes on the extent.

If you have tattoos on your face, neck, forearms or hands, you must indicate their location and provide at least two photographs of each tattoo. The first must be a close-up of the tattoo and the second must clearly show the location of the tattoo on your body.

Please ensure that you describe the tattoo and the wording, giving a translation if applicable. Describe any personal significance or meaning that you attribute to the tattoo.

Q. I have previous convictions/cautions. Can I still join?

We would only be able to give general advice in this area until an application reaches vetting stages. Not all cautions or convictions will lead to your application being turned down. However, failure to disclose any convictions or cautions will result in your application being turned down. In general terms you should not have any convictions or cautions in the last five years but all cases will need to be considered on an individual basis.

Q. I’m hard of hearing. Can I apply?

All candidates medical health is considered on an individual basis, in confidence with the Occupational Health Team. If you would like to get in touch with the medical health professionals in the Occupational Health Team using the 101 number, they will be able to offer individual advice.

Q. Am I too old?

There is no upper age limit but you need to be in good health and be able to meet the standards for fitness and eyesight.

Q.Do you need GCSEs or equivalent?

We do not ask for any educational certificates. We need people with good life skills and experience such as:

  • Quick thinking team players
  • Coping with the unexpected
  • Remaining calm in a crisis
  • Communicating clearly
  • Are tolerant and work well in a team
  • Treat people with respect and can resolve disputes sensitively and appropriately
  • Plan and take the initiative
  • Are honest, fair and impartial

Q. Can I join if I have outstanding debts, CCJs etc...?

We will check your financial status because Specials have access to privileged information, which may make them vulnerable to corruption. Your appointment is subject to satisfactory references, security checks and vetting that may include immediate family.


Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.