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Police pay tribute to special constables who have given thousands of hours during coronavirus lockdown; 'During this extraordinary time, the significance of their role is greater than ever'

By Louise Glen

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Police have praised special constables across Scotland who have volunteered more than 7500 in the past three weeks.
After a nationwide call, more than 140 "specials" have helped Police Scotland with 885 shifts.

Specials who give up their time to act as Police Scotland Volunteers have pledged thousands of hours to support our response to the coronavirus pandemic so far. Following news of the lockdown restrictions, a quarter of special constables immediately made contact to offer support and increase their commitment.

A number of Specials have even offered to live away from home to fully commit to their role, and some who are already key workers in their full-time profession have offered to work additional hours for us.

Assistant Chief Constable John Hawkins said: “We have been humbled by the response of our special constables. Their commitment to their roles during this unprecedented time is staggering and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to the service."

Special constables are warranted officers with all the powers of regular police officers who volunteer their services. They are deployed in local communities to support daily operations and provide resilience at critical times.

"Our thanks also go to the employers who have allowed their employees to dedicate their time to supporting Police Scotland in our efforts to help save lives and protect the NHS.

“Due to health reasons we have asked some special constables not to deploy at this time, which I appreciate might be disappointing, however health and safety must come first.

"Training is being provided to those who have requested it as soon as possible, and we will do everything we can to support those who are giving up their precious time. I must also stress that we absolutely understand that all our volunteers might not be able to deploy for the foreseeable future due to care or medical reasons – we appreciate how crucial it is that everyone takes care of themselves and their loved ones at this challenging time.”

Mr Hawkins added: “Throughout Police Scotland’s history, special constables have always been considered a vital and valued resource. However during this extraordinary time, the significance of their role is greater than ever.”

Police Scotland wrote to special constables and their employers in March, asking them to increase their volunteering hours wherever possible and asking employers to consider paid leave to allow staff to support local policing over the coming weeks.

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