Why did you join the GMP Special Constabulary?
I joined the Specials in May 2012. I had been subject to and witnessed a lot of racial crime, which often goes unreported, however I have always held a zero tolerance stance when it comes to hate crime and always contacted the Police, following it through with positive conviction. I became more involved with the local Police Officers regarding the incidents that I reported and got to realise that many times there just simply was not enough Police around. There were also not enough Orthodox Jewish Police Officers in the Police and the community doesn’t realise how much the Police bend over backwards for the community so I wanted to build that bridge.
What are the best bits about being a Special?
Every minute and every incident is different. I could be dealing with a burglary, a stabbing victim, a suicide or a serious car accident. Just to be there for someone at their lowest or most needed time in their life, be a presence to help, support or just listen to them. I enjoy being the much needed bridge between the Jewish community and the Police. I think community policing and engaging with communities is vital. In my police work I am visibly an Orthodox Jew and my colleagues often consult me on matters of Jewish observance. They appreciate that I’m Jewish and they feel they can ask me any questions. I have had zero Anti- Semitism from within the Police and from the public whilst I’ve been on duty. I often find myself explaining the police system to Jewish people. I explain why the Police are so busy, what they do and advise them to always report incidents.
How do you balance your work/social life with your responsibilities of being a Special?
Policing is a social in itself! In my six months training I gained a lot of new friends which bonded into a social life. I have made many friends in the Police family who are really nice and supportive. The fact that being a Special is so flexible in terms of when I’m able to book on duty, I’m able to balance that around my family and social life. I generally volunteer twice a week and this includes a weekly Friday patrol as I don’t work on Friday in my day job in case I get stuck out on the road and not able to be back in time for my Sabbath.
Would you recommend this volunteering opportunity to others?
Yes, most definitely. I often speak to people about joining the Specials, especially from within the Jewish community, explaining to them how welcoming Police Officers are and how the training can be tailored around the Sabbath etc. I am really proud and take pride being a Special and I am a paving stone for others as currently I am the only Orthodox Jewish Special Constable outside London.
If you are interested in becoming a Special Constable, please email Special.Constabulary@gmp.police.uk