Read Liz's story
As a teenager becoming a regular officer was something that I thought about a lot but it never panned out for me. I considered it again around 10 years ago when I was nearly made redundant but it wasn’t the right time for me and my family. Over the past five years I’ve gone through some personal difficulties but after going through a period of counselling I’ve got back to a stronger place and felt it was time for me to do the things I’ve always wanted to do.
I felt like I wanted to give something back and spent a year volunteering at a homeless shelter in Rushden. I enjoyed this immensely and it further opened my eyes to some of the societal issues that are around us. I decided I wanted to revisit my earlier desire to join the police but didn’t want to change my established career, becoming a special constable was a good compromise for me.
The training process was intense and a lot of hard work but was a really engaging and a fun experience. I’ve made friends that I will keep for life. I spoke to the people around me before I started training and agreed what support I’d need in for the 10-12-week course. This really helped make sure that I could fully commit to every session as it’s really important to try not to miss any.
I’m really proud of what I’d achieved! I flunked all my GCSE’s and A Levels so I kind of felt like I’d finally passed something important! During the attestation ceremony my 16-year-old daughter said to me that now she knows how I feel when I tell her I’m proud of her which was a really touching moment.
Being a special constable makes me feel like I’m making a difference to the people I help. During my time as a special I’ve dealt with someone who was really struggling with their mental health. They were very distressed and had harmed themselves, we waited for hours with them to be assessed at a mental health assessment unit before leaving them in capable hands to get the appropriate support. They were withdrawn and barely spoke to us but we kept them company and spoke to them to keep them calm. I thought about the incident for months afterwards and wondered how they were, then out of the blue the person we helped wrote a thank you letter into the station and named every officer that had helped them that weekend. They believed that without our help they may not have been here today. I was stunned that they had actually taken everything in and remembered our names despite the distressed state they were in.
I attend a vast range of jobs, from mental health issues, domestic incidents, assaults, concern for welfare, whatever is thrown at us! I hope during my shifts I am contributing to making the community my children are growing up in a little bit safer.
Since volunteering I’ve grown in confidence. I’ve gained more patience and a different perspective on life and what people might be going through.
My employers have been extremely supportive already and gave me a lot of flexibility to accommodate the training.
I think if you really want to do something you make it happen. Juggling volunteering, home and work life is hard, and the housework doesn’t always get done but it’s still there when I get home!
Go for it, you won’t know if you enjoy it unless you try it.
Visit the special constabulary section to find out more about joining us as a volunteer police officer.