90 seconds with Special Sergeant Tim Clarke
Rank: Special Sergeant
Age at joining: 49
Length of service: 8 years
Day job: Transport Business Owner
What prompted you to become a Special?
I was doing a bit of research into the family tree and I found my Great Grandfather had been a Special in WWI when he was 57. So I thought, well I’m 49, which is younger than that, so I’ll give it a go!
What is your day job?
I buy and sell motorcycles and own a transport business in Wycombe which is what I spend most of my time during the day on.
How many hours per month do you contribute as a Special?
I do about 40 hours per month which is slightly above the average Special – you don’t have to do that many but that fits around my work life just right.
What do you enjoy most about the role?
I would say being involved in people’s lives that I wouldn’t be involved with otherwise. It’s a privilege to be involved in the things they have going on in their day- to-day lives that I would have no contact with otherwise.
How do your family feel about your role as a Special?
So I have three grown-up children and they are very supportive, slightly surprised to start with but they have definitely embraced it and totally support me; the same as my wife.
What’s the most challenging incident you have been involved in?
The most challenging incident would have been dealing with a sudden death of a local family. It was very emotional but I can’t really go into much detail on that one!
Are you exposed to the same incidents as your regular colleagues?
Yes you are because a lot of the time you are crewed up with a regular officer which means you will go to whatever the regulars go to. You might be crewed with another Special or even be single-crewed once you have passed independent patrol. You could be sent to absolutely anything – that includes sudden deaths, road accidents, missing people and all the usual crimes and I suppose about 80% of the things we attend aren’t directly crime related; they are about looking after people in various forms.
How flexible are the shifts?
Certainly where I am based in High Wycombe, the Shift Sergeants are more than happy to work around whatever work commitments you have got without any doubt at all. If you can only do three hours on a Thursday evening, they will be pleased to see you then, simple as that – it’s about lightening the load on our regular colleagues. It’s definitely a supportive, team environment.
How did you feel about joining the police aged 49?
It was fine, when I actually joined at 49, I found that doing the job is actually easier if you’re a little bit older and the TVP fitness training which you do twice a year and the expectation that should maintain a basic level of fitness has meant that I’m definitely fitter now than I was 20 years ago without any doubt at all. TVP has fantastic backup and support for any physical injuries you might suffer which is a big plus.