A Special University!

Julie Brierley, Head of Learning and Development Cheshire Police; David Balsamo, Dean of Social Science University of Chester; Geoff Elvey, Head of Investigative Skills Unit; ACC Janette McCormick; Professor John Borland, Professor Peter Harrop.

The valuable contribution that voluntary Police officers make to society was celebrated at an event last month to promote a new Special relationship between the University of Chester and Cheshire Police.

To mark the news that the University is now accrediting the delivery of Cheshire Police's Specials' training, a public information event took place at its Warrington Campus, which was open to anyone considering signing up as a Special.

Guests heard presentations from key University and Police figures on a range of training options including the Foundation Degree in Policing and the Professional Certificate in Neighbourhood Policing, as well as the Graduate Diploma in Criminal Investigation and the BSc in Policing with Criminal Investigation.

Janette McCormick, Assistant Chief Constable for Cheshire Police, who oversees Neighbourhood Policing and gave the audience an overview of Police training, explained the history of the partnership, and discussed the new Specials training programme. She said: "An event such as this shows that this is not just a partnership between our training department and the University, it proves that it has support from the Force's officers too. It also gives us the chance to thank the University for the support it has given to us.

"Thanks to the Faculty of Social Science, we have been able to facilitate training in a way that we didn't think was possible and it really has professionalised the Specials training and provided valuable, educational opportunities for our officers."

She added: "The Special Constabulary is an essential part of Cheshire Police and one we are proud of. "There are more than 400 Special Officers who volunteer their time to support communities through the local policing teams. They bring a wealth of professional and personal experience, and their diversity benefits the Constabulary.

"These people are remarkable. They usually have very busy lives, whether that's a full time job or family commitments, and yet they give up their precious spare time and often encounter
anti-social behaviour and go into dangerous situations all to help to make their communities better, safer places."

"If you consider that Sir Robert Peel's original vision of the Police was citizens in uniform patrolling the streets and keeping the population safe, this is the very essence of the Special Police. "I believe involving communities in policing is vital to ensuring trust. It brings communities together to help resolve local issues, building confidence and increasing the visible presence that makes people feel safer."

What the training involves:

The University's Faculty of Social Science already delivers the Foundation Degree in Policing at its Warrington Campus to provide initial training to every new officer who joins Cheshire Police and the new programme is an extension of this alliance.

Delivered by fully qualified and experienced police trainers, the programme brings a new element to the Specials training which originally consisted of 15 full days delivered over weekends and six part days delivered in the evenings. As well as the vigorous practical training programme, Specials are now required to sit a formal assessed exam at the end of their initial training. All new Specials are registered on to the Certificate in Neighbourhood Policing, which is accredited by the University and is already used for new PCSOs joining the constabulary. Topics covered in the training programme include assaults, damage, theft, weapons, public order, and the confiscation of alcohol. The training also covers police powers to arrest, stop and search and enter premises, while further teaching is delivered in first aid and personal safety.

To consolidate the classroom learning, a roleplay exercise takes place in Frodsham town centre, where Specials patrol and then receive instructions from a mock control room to attend various incidents at which they are assessed.

• To find out more about Cheshire Police Specials visit

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