Campus to Constabulary – Meet Special Constable Ellie

Campus to Constabulary – Meet Special Constable Ellie

We recently caught up with university student and Special Constable Ellie to learn more about her role as a special constable at TVP, what inspired her to volunteer, and how her role helps in her life outside of volunteering.

When did you first learn about the Special Constabulary and what motivated you to volunteer?

I originally discovered this role in the first year of my criminology degree. My ambition is to become a detective, so I thought this could be the best place to start as it would give me that experience in discovering what a career in policing would be like – an experience that my degree might not offer.

What else do you do outside of volunteering as a special constable?

I’ve just finished the first year of my criminology degree at Oxford Brookes University, where I’m also the president of the Criminology Society. Outside of my degree I also have a part-time job as a receptionist at the university sports centre.

How do you balance volunteering with studying and your other commitments?

My main priority is ensuring my university work is complete and the flexibility of the special constable role helps with that. You have to volunteer a minimum of 18 hours a month so I can plan and work out when I can do my shifts alongside my university work.

What was the training like?

I loved the training! I was able to attend university during the week and then attend training on the weekend, which meant I didn’t have to miss any lectures.

My intake was small so we almost felt like a family and still keep in touch. You get to stay at Sulhamstead from Friday night to Sunday and experience the training just as a regular police constable would.

There were some elements that I found difficult – especially when dealing with scenarios of people shouting in my face – but I knew what my end goal was and that’s what motivated me to keep going.

Would you say there are elements you can take from that experience and apply it to life outside of policing?

Yes, 100%! Even with my degree, when we’re learning about victims, I’ve already had that experience as a special. I have a better understanding of what victims go through and I can apply that in my degree and life in general.

Do you remember what it was like when you first started as a special?

I was nervous to begin with, however, coming out of training and starting to volunteer is different as you have a level of authority and confidence. But one helpful thing was the support and help from my sergeant, supervisors, and other officers – they reassured me that everyone has a starting point, and they all went through it.

Would you say that from the beginning it’s been a very supportive network?

Very supportive. You always get feedback and have supervision meetings and a debrief at the end of every shift, which I found helpful as sometimes you deal with incidents that may be quite challenging. Having the support network within your colleagues helps with your development as a special.

Are there any moments that have been particularly memorable for you since joining?

We attended an incident where I was the one that had to arrest the suspect, take them to custody to book them in, and lead on taking the statement. I had to do all that, and it was the first time all my training came together. I still had support from my colleague, who was reassuring throughout the process and was on hand if I had any questions. But this was the first shift where I thought “I’ve got this – this is the reason why I signed up to be a special because I want to make a difference.”

What would you say to someone considering volunteering as a special constable?

Do it! It changes your life. It has made me more mature. You get to meet a lot of people all while making a difference in the community. If you’re looking at a career in policing, then this is a great start to get insight into the police force and what being part of that force is like.


If like Ellie, you are inspired to take on a volunteering role as a special constable, visit our special constables page and apply today.