Wiltshire Police stages its biggest Specials operation

The largest Special Constabulary led operation ever run by Wiltshire Police took place during Saturday evening and into Sunday. (25 February – 26 February)

The county-wide night of activity involving 63 special constables was guided by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s key priority to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

The operation which focused on rural crime, and licensing, also saw officers conducting roadside vehicle checks, speed checks and late night patrols around pubs and clubs.

Special Inspector Rachel Oaten, who led the operation said: “Operations like this are a great opportunity for us to bring the Special Constabulary together which is something we rarely have the opportunity to do.

“In one night we were able to double the capacity of Wiltshire Police and give around 800 hours of voluntary police work, which is an amazing achievement.”

Special Constables are trained volunteers who have the same powers as police officers and give up their time for the benefit of their local communities.

In October 2016, Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson and Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills launched a campaign to recruitment more members for the Special Constabulary, with an aspiration to increase the number in the Force to 500.

Special Inspector Oaten continued: “Operation Drogo welcomed a number of new Specials, some have been settling into policing over the last few weeks, whilst five officers were fresh out of training having been sworn in as officers that morning.

As well as increased visibility across the county, we offered additional support to Community Policing, took positive action in relation to traffic, disorder and drugs. Officers also we were able to spend time engaging with the public.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson, who has invested in the development of the Special Constabulary joined officers out on the operation in the south of the county.
Mr Macpherson said: “I was delighted to join the Special Constabulary on Operation Drogo and see first-hand the difference Specials are making in our communities.

“Specials and volunteers play an important role in policing Wiltshire and Swindon, and their day jobs and life outside policing enrich the knowledge, skills and culture of the Force.
“The impact of Operation Drogo really showed the additional value, capability and visibility the Special Constabulary can bring to Wiltshire Police, which is so important at a time when police resources are stretched.”

Activity for the evening included:
• Over 90 vehicles were stopped for safety checks, speeding, or vehicle defects
• 24 licencing checks
• 26 Police National Computer (PNC) person checks
• 57 PNC vehicle checks
• Four section 32 drugs searches
• 12 stop and searches
• Speed checks over ten locations

Results for the operation from across the county included:
• One arrest
• Assisted Community Policing with eight arrests
• One cannabis street warning
• Five drug seizures
• One alcohol seizure
• Three fixed penalty notices for traffic offences were issued
• The issue of three fixed penalty notices
• Two vehicles were seized
• Three road traffic incidents were dealt with
• Three Penalty Notices for disorder were issued
• Two people were reported for summons for traffic offences

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Mills the Chief Officer lead for the Special Constabulary said: “Operation Drogo has really given us a chance to put the Special Constabulary on the map.

“We aspire to increase our numbers to 500 officers and since recruitment opened last October we are welcoming new Specials into training every five weeks, and since January these officers have been joining Community Policing teams.

“Operations like this are really important to us as a team. They help us to focus on key priorities of the Police and Crime Plan and what is important to the public of Wiltshire.

“As well as offering support to Wiltshire Police, operations give Specials a chance to put their training in to action, work with different teams and in different areas of the county.

“The Special Constabulary now have 278 officers and during February these officers have given a total of 5104 hours of their time to Wiltshire Police. That is equivalent to 127 weeks or just under two and a half years of a full time officer.

“Being a Special is a brilliant way to give something back to your community.”

Recruitment for the Special Constabulary is open and more information can be found on the Specials Constabulary website http://www.wiltshirepolicespecials.co.uk