‘Specials Weekend’ highlights contribution of volunteer police officers, as transport police looks to increase numbers

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More than 80 volunteer officers from British Transport Police (BTP) took part in operations and events on the rail network last weekend, as the force announced it was looking to expand its Special Constabulary. 
The activity, which ran from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 June, was part of National Specials Weekend; a co-ordinated effort by police services across the UK to highlight the contribution made by volunteer Special Constables.
During the weekend of action, which coincided with National Volunteers Week (1-7 June), BTP’s Special Constables:
  • volunteered 894 hours,
  • patrolled 187 trains,
  • made four arrests,
  • reported six people for offences,
  • issued one penalty notice for railway trespass,
  • held two level crossing operations.
On Friday (5 June), volunteer officers carried out a number of late-night train patrols to reassure the travelling public. This included services across London and the south-east, but also last trains into Bristol, Reading, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, and Nottingham.
Specials were also involved in policing the railways and London Underground for several key events such as the Wu-Tang Clan gig at the O2 Academy in Brixton and the Parklife festival in Manchester. On Saturday (6 June), 15 Specials patrolled stations and trains as part of BTP’s policing of the Epsom Derby in Surrey.
The weekend came as BTP announced it was opening recruitment for new Special Constables across England and Wales, as it looks to increase the number of members of the public volunteering a minimum of 16 hours a month to help police the railways.
The force currently has 263 Specials, who wear the same uniform and have the same powers as its 2,969 full-time officers.
Ben Clifford, chief officer of BTP Special Constabulary, said: “The great work of our Specials over this weekend just goes to show what a valuable role they play in modern policing. They bring important skills and experience from their day jobs to their volunteer role as a police officer, giving them a close connection to the communities they serve.
“BTP is committed to increasing Special Constable numbers, and that’s why we have opened recruitment across England and Wales. You don’t need any legal or police experience as all training is provided, you just need to be committed to volunteering at least 16 hours a month to help keep the rail network safe and secure.”
Specials are based at BTP police posts at railway stations across England, Scotland and Wales and are normally attached to neighbourhood policing or response teams.
Those interested in applying to join BTP as a Special Constable, can find out more online at http://careers.btp.police.uk Applications close on 1 July 2015. More information is also available on Twitter @BTPSpecials.

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