Police Scotland ‘humbled’ by special constables

Special constables across Scotland have been thanked for their service

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Police Scotland has thanked special constables for coming forward in droves following an appeal for help.

A quarter of all of Scotland’s special constables immediately made contact to increase their commitment, substantially in many cases, it said.

More than 40 employers granted employees leave to perform the role during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past three weeks, around 140 specials across more than 885 shifts have volunteered more than 7,500 hours – equivalent to more than 300 days of help.

A number offered to live away from home so that they could help out full-time, said Police Scotland.

Others have sought urgent retraining while some specials who are already key-workers have offered to work additional hours.

In Argyll and Bute, Stevie Neilson was given the support of his employer Argyll and Bute Council to pledge as much time as possible to community policing.

Stevie, a harbour master and port security officer at Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, has been a special constable for 26 years.

With his extensive local knowledge and contacts, he is a ‘vital member of the team,’ said Police Scotland.

John Hawkins, assistant chief constable, said officers had been ‘humbled’ by the response.

‘Their commitment to their roles during this unprecedented time is staggering and I cannot thank them enough for their dedication to the service.

‘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.’

Police Scotland has been featuring its unsung heroes at www.facebook.com/PoliceScotlandVolunteers