Members of the Dorset Special Constabulary have worked over 5,800 hours to support frontline policing during the lockdown period.

Dorset’s Special Constables, a volunteer branch of the police force, have logged 5,837 hours since we entered lockdown on March 23, an increase of 42 percent over the same period in 2019.

Tuesday 19 May marks National Specials Day, celebrated across the country to thank Special Constables for their hard work during the coronavirus crisis.

Special Constables give up their free time to help tackle crime in their local area by supporting regular officers out on patrol and engaging with the community. They have the same powers in law as regular police officers.

Some Dorset Special Constables, who have been placed on furlough or made redundant as a result of the coronavirus crisis, have volunteered over 60 hours per month to provide support to their full-time colleagues.

With some officers and staff self-isolating, Special Constables have become increasingly important in keeping the frontline supported and running to usual standards.

Last month, Dorset Police held its first ever remote virtual attestation ceremony for Special Constables, successfully getting specials sworn in despite the challenges of social distancing.

Deputy Chief Officer Andy Turtle said: “I am immensely proud to be a part of Dorset Police’s Special Constabulary. It is brilliant to see so many colleagues volunteering more time to support their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Some colleagues have been furloughed and others are making additional time to come in and support regular colleagues and add resilience.

“I want to say thank you to each Special Constable for their hard work during this national crisis, it has been remarkable, thank you.”

Supportive employers are critical to the role of Special Constables. The Employer Supported Policing Scheme (ESP) is an agreement between Dorset Police and the Special Constable’s employer to release them for a certain number of days a year to allow them to participate in their volunteer work. Without employers allowing for this, Special Constables could not exist.

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner, said: “Special Constables provide an important contribution to policing and the role they play, although sadly often overlooked, has proven essential throughout the coronavirus crisis.

“Their dedication has been vital over the last few weeks and we should all take a moment to thank these brave individuals who give so much.”

Throughout the lockdown period, other groups of Dorset Police volunteers have been helping to support communities, particularly those who are most vulnerable to coronavirus. They help to supply basics and essentials to those most in need within the community.

If you are interested in a role as a Special Constable, please visit the recruitment site,