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Specials put in focus with new equipment

Written by on 14 January 2021

Members of the force’s Special Constabulary are set to receive body worn video devices to help them capture incidents as they unfold.

More than 200 cameras – which officers use to record vital evidence – have been secured while Staffordshire Police’s voluntary police officers will also be given mobile data devices so they can access force systems while on patrol.

The investment in the technology has come from the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office courtesy of funding generated by the police precept, which forms part of council tax bills in the county.

While some Specials have previously used body worn video and mobile data devices, the investment means that eventually all the voluntary officers will have the kit.

Special Inspector Josh Wright, who was previously based at Longton before working with new recruits and overseeing their development, is delighted with the new equipment. SI Wright, who also works as a paramedic, said: “We are rolling out this equipment to all of our Specials and the new intake.

“Our officers deal with a whole range of incidents – as full-time officers do – and therefore having the body worn video is vital. It will help them in terms of gathering evidence and can also act as a deterrent to offenders.

“The Specials wear the same uniform and have the same powers as full-time officers and we are so pleased they are now getting the same equipment.”

In addition to the 250 cameras, SI Wright has also welcomed the new mobile data devices being rolled out to the Special Constabulary.

He said: “It is just like having an office in their pocket. They can view and log incidents all while out dealing with issues in the county.

“I would like to thank the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office for this funding as without them this wouldn’t have been possible.”

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire and Rescue and Crime, Matthew Ellis said: “The Special Constabulary is a vital part of the police family, helping to tackle crime and keep us all safe.

“This investment in new equipment will help the Specials carry out their roles more efficiently and effectively, thanks to additional money made available through local taxes.

“The increased investment in policing is already making a significant difference here in Staffordshire.”

A total of 20 new volunteers started in December with the constabulary welcoming five intakes of 10 recruits per year with the next batch set to hit the streets – with the new equipment – in April. During 2020, the Specials across the county contributed more than 73,455 duty hours.

SI Wright added: “There is never a shortage of interest in joining the Specials and we are so pleased to see the number of applicants we receive.”