A Typical Duty

I am often asked what a "typical duty" is like for a Special Constable. Well of course there is no such thing as a typical duty, every one is different - that is part of the attraction!

However, I thought it would be useful to show an example duty. To make it more interesting, this "duty" is in fact made up of incidents which occurred over a long period of time. Not every duty is this busy! All the incidents listed happened to me when I was a Special and although details such as names and places have been removed for confidentiality reasons, they are otherwise true.


Arrive at the police station. Change into uniform, collect my CS spray from the store and replace my personal radio battery with a fresh one. Sign on via the radio, then head for the briefing room.


Go into the briefing which is just about to start. Here I join about 20 other officers, mainly regulars although there are some Specials too. The sergeant gives us the latest information on our local criminals - we use this intelligence to help us target these people and disrupt their activities. I make notes in my pocket note book ("PNB") as I listen. I'm asked to crew one of the patrol cars with a regular, Paul.


Briefing over, Paul and I head to the PC's office and quickly check the computer system for emails and updates. The radio is already squawking and it sounds like it could be a busy day.


We're off on patrol in a marked car. My job is to work the radio and either fiddle with the sat-nav, or if that's not working, read the map as we head to jobs, giving Paul clear and timely directions! I also write down details of incidents as they come out on the radio (the driver is too busy driving to keep accurate notes of times, addresses, etc.) and keep a time log of what we do and when. Finally as observer I have to look out of the window - you never know what you could spot as you're driving along!


We have stopped an old Ford Escort which was being driven erratically in the town centre - we wondered if perhaps the driver has been drinking. I get out to talk to the driver while Paul stays in the car, ready to give chase in case he makes off. It turns out the driver, an elderly gentlemen, is lost and trying to find the motorway. Directions are given and we resume patrol.


Our first job! We are sent to an intruder alarm at an office building on an industrial estate outside the town centre. This job is graded immediate so it's blues and twos through the traffic. On arrival the place seems deserted (it's a Saturday). I check the rear of the premises while my colleague checks the front door - much to his surprise it's unlocked! We advise control, then go inside together and start a systematic search of the offices. We are both surprised by the cleaner! She apologises and says she set the alarm off when she came in earlier. A quick ID check is all in order so we hit the road again.


We are sent to an RTC (Road Traffic Collision) on one of the roads near to the town centre. On arrival we find it's not too serious, one car has gone into the back of the other at traffic lights but they are blocking one lane. No-one is injured (phew - means less paperwork for us!). We breath test both drivers (both negative), take some basic details and call a recovery vehicle for the most badly damaged car. In the meantime we cone off the affected lane and direct traffic where necessary.


We're off again, taking the chance while there's a moment's calm to refuel the car. I pay (with the force petrol card!) and update the vehicle log which shows who had the car when - so you can always tell who forgot to refuel last!


Attend another burglar alarm. We do a check of the house, which is deserted and seems secure - yet another false alarm (most of them are!)


We are sent to back up a single-crewed area car at a house in the town centre. Control have received an abandoned 999 call from a screaming woman. It's all quiet on arrival, no answer at the front door. We find the back door ajar and go in - a lady meets us in the kitchen and tells us everything is OK, they had an argument, that's all. I speak with her husband in a different room, while another officer talks to the lady. A sad story of a blazing row over an unanswered telephone emerges! Both are somewhat embarrassed to have the police turn up. No-one is hurt, and there is no reason to suspect things will kick off again, so after carrying out careful checks on both parties, we give some gentle advice and leave. This will need a detailed entry in our pocket notebooks and as it's classified as a domestic incident, a full report will have to be made by the single-crewed regular.


An urgent shout to a man with a knife on one of the outlying housing estates. We are the second unit to arrive, to find that the two officers already at the scene have arrested the man - he is taken straight off to the custody centre. We stay at the scene taking details from the witnesses. Another unit is coming to take a statement from a lady who says she was threatened by the knifeman. The incident has attracted quite a crowd of onlookers so we resume patrol as soon as we can.


Time to do a bail check - when offenders come before the court they are often released on bail but given certain conditions. In this case, we are calling at the home address of a persistent auto-crimer (someone who steals from cars) who should have been home by 7pm. Guess what, he's not in. We will need to write a statement later so that he can be arrested and dealt with by the court for breaching his bail.


Back to the nick and time for a late dinner. Today has been one of those days, when every time we started heading back to the nick, another job came out! While eating our sandwiches Paul and I write a quick statement each about the absent bail check.


We now head out into the town centre, this time on foot patrol. The town attracts thousands of people on a weekend evening. This Saturday night is no different and the town is full of drinkers in the pubs, bars and clubs. At busy times like this there is usually a CCTV operator keeping an eye on things, we rely on them not only to let us know if there's trouble brewing, but also to keep an eye on us.


We attend a pub in the town where a punter is refusing to leave. On arrival we are met by the licensee who tells us the man is very drunk and has been argumentative with bar staff. The licensee just wants him out, so we approach the man with the licensee who again asks him to leave. The sight of two uniforms seems to make him see sense and he staggers to the door, muttering about how he's "not done anything". On the street we advise him to go home and by radio ask the CCTV operator to keep an eye on him as he does so.


We deal with two people for urinating in the street - unusually one of them is a girl! After ID checks, both are given verbal warnings and a written warning about their behaviour. They seem to take this pretty well and head home quietly - in fact they got off lightly, these days we can issue on-the-spot fines for such behaviour.


The town has become surprisingly quiet, with most of the punters already in the clubs. We hear of an incident on the other side of the town via our personal radios - a fight involving a group of lads. Even as we start to make our way over there the officers who have already arrived say it's fizzled out, and all becomes quiet again.


Finally get back to the nick! Time to check my pocket notebook is up to date (not too bad) and complete some paperwork for the earlier breath tests. The paperwork goes to the sergeant for checking.


Return CS spray to the store, and sign off via the radio.


Leave for home, another duty completed!

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