A new venture run by Hertfordshire’s Special Constabulary is proving to be a great success by providing the county’s pubs and clubs with extra policing resources during the busier weekends.
The Specials’ Public Order Support Team (SPOST) comprises a team of specially trained volunteer police officers from across the county, who pool their efforts during their weekend night-time duties to support the policing of the county’s pubs and clubs during their busiest times.
The idea of the SPOST was conceived last year by the Constabulary’s Local Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Matthew Nicholls and Special Constabulary Chief Inspector Tim Wade. As demand on policing resources increases at the weekends, the senior officers began to plan how the Special Constabulary could support regular officers during these busier times as and when they are needed, and the SPOST was created.
The SPOST mirrors the operational structure of the regular police service in Hertfordshire and can be deployed immediately anywhere in the county over the weekend based on where the greatest need is. As part of their duties the team has been getting involved in venue licencing checks – to ensure venues are keeping up with the terms of their licences – and enforcement when public disorder incidents arise.
The day to day tactical deployment of the SPOST is led by Special Inspector Ben Deeks and Special Sergeant Kebba Jobe who are both based at Hatfield Police Station and have together clocked up 30 years of service to Hertfordshire’s Special Constabulary. The team also has their own public order van, which allows them to be deployed anywhere in the county, whenever they are needed.
Special Constables in Hertfordshire commit to at least 16 hours per month of duty to the policing areas they are allocated to across the county. The hours they dedicate to the SPOST are over and above the 16 hours that they have to commit to where they are based. In total 40 officers support the team and have undergone specialist training in public order, legislation, responses to critical incidents and case file preparations to perform the role. They also need to be deemed to be fit for independent patrol.
Special Chief Inspector Tim Wade said: “SPOST has been a great success since its launch and has been a making a real difference in supporting regular officers, and reducing incidents of crime and disorder in our communities. Already the team has made six arrests, reviewed 23 licenced premises and have checked 100 door supervisors, to ensure they comply with their Security Industry Association (SIA) licences. Additionally SPOST officers can administer advanced first aid and are trained and equipped to provide the initial police response to major incidents.
“In order to be part of the team, the 40 officers involved commit to additional training and development and to increasing their usual 16 volunteering hours, which they have to complete every month as part of being a Special Constable. As a result in the last six months our Special Constables have completed a total of 989 hours of additional volunteer hours between them. This is a great achievement which demonstrates considerable selflessness and commitment from the officers who are already dedicating their free time to support policing and the safety of the public in Hertfordshire. “
Local Policing Commander Chief Superintendent Matthew Nicholls said: “It is fantastic to see the SPOST up and running after we identified that we could concentrate Special Constabulary resources and target them to areas most in need during our busier times.
“I am delighted to see they are making a real difference in supporting regular officers and I am very proud of what they are achieving. The time and commitment our Special Constables dedicate to the force never ceases to amaze me and I am extremely appreciative of their efforts.”
Special Chief Officer Mark Kendrew said: “Over recent months, the Special Constabulary has developed closer working relationships with our regular colleagues at borough and county levels. SPOST is an example of how we can deploy a specialist team to focus on specific policing needs at the request of Matt and his local policing command team.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire David Lloyd said: “This is a very innovative scheme which is proving to be a great success in dealing with fast-moving public order issues quickly and efficiently.
“Our Special Constables bring a variety of additional experience to these operations and we’re grateful to them for their service.
“We’re always looking for people who want to bring their skills to policing roles, and anyone who wants to find out more should visit www.hertspolicespecials.co.uk.”