Met special constables working within the Vehicle Enforcement Team cracked down on criminals who use London’s roads in an operation which highlighted just one of the many roles they carry out to support their colleagues.
As the Met launches a new specials recruitment campaign, more than 50 members of the MSC were positioned on Romford Road in Newham on Saturday, 27 January, which saw 300 vehicles stopped, 22 seized for either having no insurance or driving not in accordance to their licence, and three arrests made for immigration offences.
The specials provided a visible deterrent for criminals using the roads while apprehending unsuspecting ones who, through the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology, were detected as being ‘wanted’.
The officers also worked alongside partner agencies to ensure those drivers and vehicles stopped and spoken to, were compliant with the law ensuring the safety of our roads.
The enforcement activity highlighted just one of the ways specials can get involved in operational policing in London.
Special constables are volunteer police officers who play a pivotal role in the Met. Specials have all the responsibilities and powers of a full-time officer and therefore carry out a huge range of operational police work but on a part-time voluntary basis alongside their regular day job.
Becoming a special provides the opportunity to work alongside police officers in various roles including specialist commands, allowing the specials to bring exceptional skills and experiences from their day job into the situations and problem-solving challenges they may face on the streets of London.
Special constables make a real difference to London by reducing crime, and the fear of crime, whilst gaining unique experiences that simply cannot be found anywhere else, such as helping with public order events, ceremonial policing, supporting emergency response and neighbourhood policing.
Special Constabulary Chief Officer John Conway, said: “This weekend’s operation was a great success and showed off the excellent skills of our special constables in tackling crime. The work of a special constable is hugely varied and joining the MSC would be a worthy New Year’s resolution. It’s an amazing chance for Londoners to give something back to their city and help make a real difference to the safety and security of its communities.
“The valuable knowledge and skills gained will serve them well, not only in their police role but also in their full-time career. They also bring valuable skills from their full-time occupations to assist in their policing role. In the words of Winston Churchill “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "London's special constables are an inspiration to us all, volunteering their precious time to help keep the rest of us safe.
"At a time of increasing pressure on police resources, their hard work has never been more valuable.
"I encourage Londoners with some time and commitment to spare for our city, to look into becoming a special constable - helping to make a real and positive difference in our communities."
Special Constable Christian French, who was at the road side operation, said: “One could work their entire life, look back on it and realise they had never really affected another’s life in a positive way, never helped someone in need, never went out of their way to make a difference. It was these exact thoughts that spurred me on to become a special constable. To give a part of my time to help those in times of crisis and to play a part in trying to make them safe and to reassure, to be part of something that really matters.
“I've always loved cars, and trained as a car mechanic at college. When the opportunity to become a police response driver arose, I didn't hesitate. Now I have the skills to be able to respond to emergency calls and extend my capacity to remove uninsured and unlicensed drivers from our roads, as part of the specialist vehicle enforcement team with the Met.”
The MSC was created in 1837 and has since grown to a current strength of 2,100 officers. In 2017 it contributed 517,000, which is equivalent to £18million of policing hours.
Among the current Met workforce there are 87 separate languages spoken with 32 per cent of a black and minority ethnic background and 28 per cent of which are women. They are from a cross-section of society, from students, plumbers and teachers to air crew, barristers and doctors.
The Met hopes to recruit 1,100 to reach targets of 3,200 by 2021.
For details of how to apply please visit the Met’s website