New recruits are needed to help swell the ranks of Special Constables in Ryedale.
The call from North Yorkshire Police comes as it emerged that Ryedale only has four volunteer police officers who regularly patrol the district, compared to 150 in other areas across the county.
Ryedale’s low numbers resulted in Jerry Holland, the force’s Strategic Lead for Special Constabulary, making an appearance at Thornton-le-Dale Show in an attempt to sign up more volunteers.
“Special constables have a very important role in rural areas and small towns as the police are thinly stretched and their assistance to officers is invaluable,” he said. “They are helping the community but they are also doing something that is interesting, often exciting and we have to say dangerous because it’s the full-on job of police officer. If there is an incident, the call room will send the nearest officer even if they happen to be a Special Constable, that’s the way it is.”
Special Constables have the exactly the same “powers and responsibilities” as regular police officers, added Mr Holland, and benefit from extensive training, covering 14 weekend days and a full week, before going out on patrol for the first time.
They will then be asked to work a minimum of four hours a week.
Mr Holland said: “Our recruits choose the hours they are able to work and fit in with family and work commitments. They nearly always work with an experienced officer or Special Constable so they are not asked to patrol on their own.
“There’s a big social life. You meet a lot of new people. The training gives Special Constables skills that are often transferable to other parts of their work life.
“Many employers believe having a Special Constable is good for their business.”
And the opportunity is there for volunteers to become full-time.
“Many Special Constables do progress to become regular officers either in North Yorkshire or elsewhere. It’s a good opportunity for people to see if they would like to become a full-time officer.”