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Is the term "Special Constable" out of date?


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Poll: Renaming the Special Constabulary (208 member(s) have cast votes)

Change the name of the Special Constabulary?

  1. No - leave it unchanged (124 votes [59.62%])

    Percentage of vote: 59.62%

  2. Voted Yes - please answer next question (84 votes [40.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 40.38%

Assuming you think it should be changed, what name(s) would you prefer?

  1. Special Police (7 votes [3.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.21%

  2. Police Reserve (41 votes [18.81%])

    Percentage of vote: 18.81%

  3. Voted Police Auxiliary (30 votes [13.76%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.76%

  4. Other (please specify by answering below) (22 votes [10.09%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.09%

  5. None of the above ( I voted no to the 1st question ) (118 votes [54.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 54.13%

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#51 Killicksparker

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:29 AM

Police Reserve for me - everyone knows what a reservist is now after all the programmes on the telly (TA and the Taliaban etc) ,,,,,,,,,,,,,Territorial Police (as in Territorial Army)???? ......... or is Territorial Army just as out dated, the other forces all have 'Reserves' (RNR, RMR, RAFR etc) after all

Personally I think they should all be reserves (Navy Reserve, Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Marines Reserve, Police Reserve, Fire Brigade Reserve, Medical Reserve, Coastguard Reserve) and make things nice and tidy. Everyone will know where they are then

#52 Killicksparker

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:44 AM

I mean that we have one side that the public see when on duty. The public do not need to know that we are Specials, we are warranted police constables who they trust to help them or deal with them fairly.

We also have the side where it is evident that we are Specials and that is the corporate side where our force acknowledge us as Specials and take our capabilities into account as resources and ask us to deal accordingly.

The public don't need to know we are Specials as this only causes doubt and confusion for them. If we need to be acknowledged for what we do then I personally would rather it was in private at HQ with my family present .


Yet when it comes to applying for jobs available to internal applicants only - the ONLY members of the extended police family who CANNOT apply are Specials. The 'corporate' side needs to decide whether we are part of the police or not, not just have us there when they feel like it and discount us when it suits them

I also disagree with David - we are a Reserve - we are a reserve to be called upon when the situation demands, just like military reserves. We have the ability to do 'extra' duties when we feel like it, but we are primarily a reserve of manpower** there to assist the regulars in the case of a major event...............however, just like the military, the government is screwing the numbers of regulars so much now that the 'Reserves', (Military and us) are becoming blended more and more into the regulars (just think of the TA units deployed to Afghanistan}. The original use of the TA was to defend home soil when the regular troops were deployed overseas, that role has changed dramatically, but there name has changed the same - just as the role of a SC has changed, but the name stayed the same. Maybe its time to give both names a makeover ??

** generic use of 'man' in this context !!!

#53 prolixia

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 09:52 AM

Personally I'm proud to be an SC, and I think it would be a shame if the term "Special" fell out of use. However, I'd also be happy to change to SPC - and that has the major advantage that the nature of our role would be clearer to the public ("Hello Madam, this is Special PC Prolixia")

#54 Killicksparker

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:12 AM

Personally I'm proud to be an SC, and I think it would be a shame if the term "Special" fell out of use. However, I'd also be happy to change to SPC - and that has the major advantage that the nature of our role would be clearer to the public ("Hello Madam, this is Special PC Prolixia")


Makes it sound a bit like the Australian "Senior Constable" ????

Edited by Killicksparker, 09 February 2012 - 10:12 AM.


#55 MerseyLLB

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:44 AM

Not too sure the regs would like that.

"Good Morning madam, I am Special Police Constable Mersey and this is ordinary run of the mill Police Constable Bloggs..." :rolleyes:

Edited by MerseyLLB, 09 February 2012 - 10:44 AM.


#56 Fry

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 10:45 AM

Yet when it comes to applying for jobs available to internal applicants only - the ONLY members of the extended police family who CANNOT apply are Specials. The 'corporate' side needs to decide whether we are part of the police or not, not just have us there when they feel like it and discount us when it suits them

I also disagree with David - we are a Reserve - we are a reserve to be called upon when the situation demands, just like military reserves. We have the ability to do 'extra' duties when we feel like it, but we are primarily a reserve of manpower** there to assist the regulars in the case of a major event...............however, just like the military, the government is screwing the numbers of regulars so much now that the 'Reserves', (Military and us) are becoming blended more and more into the regulars (just think of the TA units deployed to Afghanistan}. The original use of the TA was to defend home soil when the regular troops were deployed overseas, that role has changed dramatically, but there name has changed the same - just as the role of a SC has changed, but the name stayed the same. Maybe its time to give both names a makeover ??

** generic use of 'man' in this context !!!


Reserve;

7 (also reserves) military a part of an army or force kept out of immediate action to provide reinforcements when needed; b forces in addition to a nation's regular armed services, not usually in service but that may be called upon if necessary; c a member of such a force; a reservist.

http://www.chambersharrap.co.uk/chambers/features/chref/chref.py/main?query=reserve&title=21st

2a body of troops withheld from action to reinforce or protect others, or additional to the regular forces and available in an emergency.

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/reserve?q=reserve

The Special Constabulary really isn't a reserve force and I don't think it can be compared to military reserve forces. Reserve forces train/are trained but when not required they aren't deployed, when they are deployed I believe the TA has rules on how often, and how long for, how many times within a few years, that a TA soldier can be deployed. Someone once told me that only a certain percentage of the TA is capable of being deployed, and even fewer are actually deployed. Special Constables are almost all trained and deployable and are deployed on a regular basis, and not just for major events.

If we did need a name change, I think "Auxiliary" is a better fit than "Reserve", but then despite the actual dictionary definition of "Auxiliary" it does give the impression of having less powers and/or having a back-office/non-front-line support type role, such as the NYPD Auxiliary, or an auxiliary nurse, or the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. This wouldn't really reflect the powers and duties of the SC.

#57 Kilo Charlie

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:02 PM

I would like to see no change made to the title of special constable. I dare say even if the special constabulary was rebranded as auxiliary or veserve we would still be referred to as Specials in an internal environment. We've been known as Special constables for the best part of 200 years and long may it continue.

#58 CmdKeen

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:20 PM

Personally I'm proud to be an SC, and I think it would be a shame if the term "Special" fell out of use. However, I'd also be happy to change to SPC - and that has the major advantage that the nature of our role would be clearer to the public ("Hello Madam, this is Special PC Prolixia")



I don't see why the public need know the difference at all. Just call everyone who doesn't hold higher rank/grade a PC and use a post nominal / something else administratively to convey whether they are a special or regular.

E.g.
PC E X Ample Metropolitan Police
PC A N Other Metropolitan Police Special Constabulary or PC A N Other Metropolitan Police Reserve

Different should numbers etc can be used to let those who need to know the difference still tell at a glance, but in terms of legal powers etc there is no difference, so why go for different names. A newly minted PC currently gets addressed the same as a 30+ veteran so it can't be "all PCs are more experienced".

The forces have been moving towards a "one army/navy/airforce" approach for years. Things like removing distinguishing insignia between regulars and reservists because everyone should be competent for the job they are assigned, everyone should salute a senior officer not mank "because they're part time". A special shouldn't be out on the streets if they can't perform the function they are expected to.

#59 Rooster1

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 12:37 PM

Just change every Police Officers title to PCSO :rolleyes:

That way when the public turn round and say "Are you one of those PCSO's?"

We can nod and say yes without any frustration!




... I am of course kidding!

#60 Sam Vimes

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 01:42 PM

Yet when it comes to applying for jobs available to internal applicants only - the ONLY members of the extended police family who CANNOT apply are Specials. The 'corporate' side needs to decide whether we are part of the police or not, not just have us there when they feel like it and discount us when it suits them!


I don't get what your beef is with the internal job application thing...? If a post is being advertised then it's being advertised I should imagine on a full time basis? So if they're after applicants for a Traffic Officer role, they need a full time body to fill it. If theyre looking for a full-time PCSO role in some new department, then theyll need a full-time PCSO to fill it. Same with every other job I've every seen advertised, how can a Special be eligible to apply for a full-time role...? I'm not eligible to apply for S/Sgt or S/Insp roles when I see them advertised, because a full-time role and a volunteer-role are actually entirely different internally. If the job being advertised is a civilian role (control room, CDO, PNC etc) then you're eligible to apply for that anyway and be a Special, but you'd have to give up your day job. Do you have an example of a job that was advertised which you couldn't apply for but think you should have, because I must be missing the point here.

Also to people who say the gap is closing between PC and SC please remember to those of us who get paid for this job we are bound by a lot more outside of work than you. If you'd like to call yourself the same title as me, because you took the same oath and are "a warranted Constable" in law then you can also have your days off cancelled at short-notice, be forced to work national events and bank holidays, go through the more detailed application and training, etc etc etc. The difference between a PC and an SC is more than just the fact the PC gets paid for it and I think some Specials seem to forget that at times.

#61 Ares

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:02 PM

you can also have your days off cancelled at short-notice, be forced to work national events and bank holidays, go through the more detailed application and training, etc etc etc.


Only if you agree to have another volunteer job on the side ;) (and more detailed application and training would be wonderful).

Edited by Ares, 09 February 2012 - 02:04 PM.


#62 CmdKeen

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:20 PM

I don't get what your beef is with the internal job application thing...? If a post is being advertised then it's being advertised I should imagine on a full time basis? So if they're after applicants for a Traffic Officer role, they need a full time body to fill it. If theyre looking for a full-time PCSO role in some new department, then theyll need a full-time PCSO to fill it. Same with every other job I've every seen advertised, how can a Special be eligible to apply for a full-time role...? I'm not eligible to apply for S/Sgt or S/Insp roles when I see them advertised, because a full-time role and a volunteer-role are actually entirely different internally. If the job being advertised is a civilian role (control room, CDO, PNC etc) then you're eligible to apply for that anyway and be a Special, but you'd have to give up your day job. Do you have an example of a job that was advertised which you couldn't apply for but think you should have, because I must be missing the point here.


He means non constable jobs, hence "extended police family". Presumably that force, and other forces, don't view Specials as internal for the purposes of an HR civilian post for instance.

I'm pretty sure Fife not only let you count as "internal" for those purposes but even internal for the wider Fife council job applications. I can see why internal applications might not count for specials (they'd have to seek outside references, not be as well versed in what you are like as an employee) but it seems very churlish.

#63 CmdKeen

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 02:43 PM

Also to people who say the gap is closing between PC and SC please remember to those of us who get paid for this job we are bound by a lot more outside of work than you. If you'd like to call yourself the same title as me, because you took the same oath and are "a warranted Constable" in law then you can also have your days off cancelled at short-notice, be forced to work national events and bank holidays, go through the more detailed application and training, etc etc etc. The difference between a PC and an SC is more than just the fact the PC gets paid for it and I think some Specials seem to forget that at times.


Except under the Police Act 1996 you hold the rank (as well as office) of Constable. There is no such specific rank of Police Constable in law as far as I can find.

And Specials, once on duty, can get dicked around by management in the same way with no financial recourse, whereas regulars are compensated. And I've been on externally funded events where everyone is kept on for an extra hour or two because overtime is abundant - who is losing out more there, specials or regulars?

The point isn't that they are the same, no-one is suggesting they are, just that once on duty the differences are so small as to render different forms of address divisive rather than implying specials and regulars face the same risks and have the same powers.

#64 Killicksparker

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:39 PM

I don't get what your beef is with the internal job application thing...? If a post is being advertised then it's being advertised I should imagine on a full time basis? So if they're after applicants for a Traffic Officer role, they need a full time body to fill it. If theyre looking for a full-time PCSO role in some new department, then theyll need a full-time PCSO to fill it. Same with every other job I've every seen advertised, how can a Special be eligible to apply for a full-time role...? I'm not eligible to apply for S/Sgt or S/Insp roles when I see them advertised, because a full-time role and a volunteer-role are actually entirely different internally. If the job being advertised is a civilian role (control room, CDO, PNC etc) then you're eligible to apply for that anyway and be a Special, but you'd have to give up your day job. Do you have an example of a job that was advertised which you couldn't apply for but think you should have, because I must be missing the point here.

Also to people who say the gap is closing between PC and SC please remember to those of us who get paid for this job we are bound by a lot more outside of work than you. If you'd like to call yourself the same title as me, because you took the same oath and are "a warranted Constable" in law then you can also have your days off cancelled at short-notice, be forced to work national events and bank holidays, go through the more detailed application and training, etc etc etc. The difference between a PC and an SC is more than just the fact the PC gets paid for it and I think some Specials seem to forget that at times.


Not everyone who is a Special is happy in their full time job, in full time employment, or even part-time employment. Jobs recently advertised as 'Internal Applicants only' include Civilian investigator, Detention Officer and FHQ Dispatcher, (and the rider at the top of the page says "vacancies advertised as internal are not open to members of the Special Constabulary)" which, had they been open to everyone within the Constabulary, I would certainly have applied for. I feel that as a Special I could bring something extra to those roles through the training I have already received, more than say someone employed full time by the Constabulary as a data clerk (for example)

I think some PCs also forget that just because they get paid for the role doesn't make them any better than those who don't, just more experienced because they are doing the role full time

#65 Straightjacket

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:02 PM

There is still the slightly frustrating public misunderstanding of SC and PCSO. I find it a lot easier when speaking to people at work etc just to say 'Part time Police Officer'.

I have the SC crown on the epulettes (which I see little point in now) but rarely get asked what they are in comparison to the reg I am crewed with who doesn't have them.

I have dropped the SC in favour PC when introducing yourself to people as it frequently takes people off on a tangent and can skew they way they deal with you, whether it be a 'I want to deal with a real officer' or 'So are you special like the FBI Special Agents.. are you in charge?' or 'So are you a PSCO?', adding the explanation time that you are allowed to deal with them properly and yes you can arrest if needed etc etc.

Will this revive the Special/Police Reserve split again?

#66 Giraffe

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:06 PM

We're going off topic with the whole internal recruitment thing here folks - this thread is about re-branding (or not) of the Special Constabulary.

Edit: We were - thanks Straightjacket. ;)

#67 Police Constable 1

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:56 PM

It could be worse, You could be introducing yourself as an SC with BTP

Constable "Hello Madam, I am SC Joe Bloggs from the British Transport Police"
Public "Whats an SC?"
Constable "Its a volunteer police officer"
Public "Oh so your one of those community whats its...."
Constable "No Madam, I am a Police officer who is a volunteer"
Public "Oh right, so whats British Transport Police?"
Constable "Its a police force for the railways"
Public "So your not the proper police then?" ;)

I think leave it as it is, ditch the crown and insignia to bring it in line with regulars, if needs be change it to Auxiliary however what would happen to the grade's? could you really say "Auxiliary Sgt"?

#68 David

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:07 PM

Police Reserve for me - everyone knows what a reservist is now after all the programmes on the telly

But we aren't reserves! We are doing it now and in real time and none of us are sat around waiting for that call.

#69 Ewokop

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:38 PM

I would never introduce myself as a Police Constable 2345 as that is not the rank I hold, the same as a PC would not introduce him/her self as a Police Sergeant 2345... This is not the rank they hold. Posted Image

As Giraffe said tho' that is a slightly different topic and we don't want to stray... But it does link to the ''title change'' query nicely. Special Constable is a rank, it has heritage and as far as I am concerned is perfectly fit for purpose.

I have had to explain my title only a few times, and each time it has took a mere 2 minutes tops, in my opinion, not a big deal; yes I have had to have the ''are you a PCSO thing'' discussion but again, this doesn't phase me. I am proud that I contribute my time to a good cause and the people I have explained it to have echoed this (the pro-police ones anyway).

I do think its how you perceive yourself. Perhaps those specials that feel they should be full time paid officers but couldn't get in/haven't applied for whatever reason have a grudge?

Perhaps there needs to be more coverage on what a ''special'' is. Or perhaps more so what a PCSO is!? Posted Image

#70 Milankovitch

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:59 PM

I've never seen these crowns people mention, I assume it is something that doesn't happen in Scotland?

#71 CmdKeen

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:10 PM

But we aren't reserves! We are doing it now and in real time and none of us are sat around waiting for that call.


Plenty of roles in the armed forces reserves are just like the specials, they are part time volunteers who occasionally go off and do a professional role. They expect to be regularly performing that role and are not only called upon when there aren't enough regulars. The RNR for instance has at least one entire branch that the regular navy doesn't posses.

And the special constabulary is also treated like a reserve in cases of major disorder. Specials may not have to answer a call-up though the reserves don't always get compulsorily mobilised either though they still get used. The riots were an excellent example of specials being used as a reserve, they suddenly needed loads of cops and called all the specials and requested they come out.

The PSNI have reservists that are entirely different again. So the word isn't as restrictive as you are taking it to mean.

#72 Killicksparker

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:01 PM

I would never introduce myself as a Police Constable 2345 as that is not the rank I hold, the same as a PC would not introduce him/her self as a Police Sergeant 2345... This is not the rank they hold. Posted Image


What about just Constable 2345, is that not the rank you hold ??

Plenty of roles in the armed forces reserves are just like the specials, they are part time volunteers who occasionally go off and do a professional role. They expect to be regularly performing that role and are not only called upon when there aren't enough regulars. The RNR for instance has at least one entire branch that the regular navy doesn't posses.

And the special constabulary is also treated like a reserve in cases of major disorder. Specials may not have to answer a call-up though the reserves don't always get compulsorily mobilised either though they still get used. The riots were an excellent example of specials being used as a reserve, they suddenly needed loads of cops and called all the specials and requested they come out.

The PSNI have reservists that are entirely different again. So the word isn't as restrictive as you are taking it to mean.


Absolutely agreed, but put far better than I ever could Posted Image

#73 DropShort

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:10 PM

Looking at this from a different angle . . . why is the police service the only one that uses different titles dependent upon being regular or special?

The reserve armed forces don’t have a different structure, you don’t have “reserve troopers”, “reserve staff sergeants” etc.

The fire service don’t use the “retained” naming in front of any of their titles, they follow the same as their whole time (as they call it) collages. When they turn up at an incident the person in charge doesn’t jump out and introduce themselves as “Hi I’m retained crew manager Blogs”

Now I am not suggesting that the specials should adopt any rank structure, that’s a whole different can of worms . . . but maybe it is time to look at the title “special constable”, speaking from experience you can spend as much time trying to explain what you are as you can doing the job you have attended.

In simple terms why could we not become PC A N Other of the Special constabulary.

#74 Samson

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:25 PM

In Met-land we have SC crowns on our shoulder and Constable MSC Samson on our name badges. No one has ever asked me what the crowns or the MSC means. I just introduce my self as Constable Samson and leave it at that. When I am off duty and try to explain what I get up to I say I'm a volunteer police officer. On two occasions recently I explain in a reasonable amount of detail what my role was, my powers etc. Both people still clearly though I was a PCSO when I next saw them. It used to irritate me but life really is too short carry on careing long. A name change would not alter anything, the public would be none the wiser whe they saw us on duty, would still mistake us for PCSOs off duty and the regulars would treat us just as they do now. Frankly the police have far more important concerns at the moment, I'd much rather they improved Specials training rather than re-branding us.

#75 MindTheGap

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 11:20 PM

I would never introduce myself as a Police Constable 2345 as that is not the rank I hold, the same as a PC would not introduce him/her self as a Police Sergeant 2345... This is not the rank they hold. Posted Image


Constable is your rank, as it is for PC and SC.




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