Edinburgh university pioneers on-campus training programme for Police Scotland 'specials'

A scheme designed by a city university to help students train to be special constables could be rolled out across the country.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 5:20 pm

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Six Edinburgh Napier students have been sworn in as Special Constables and are now ready to join Police Scotland community teams, after completing on-campus training for the frontline role.

The group are the latest to train under a programme devised by the University to meet a growing demand from students to volunteer as Special Constables.

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Six Edinburgh Napier students have been sworn in as Special Constables.

University staff worked with Police Scotland to adapt the training so students could fit it into their timetable.

Now they hope to roll out the model, after interest from other colleges and Universities around Scotland.

Volunteer special constables police sporting events, patrol the streets, help prevent crime and interact with people in their communities. Training is a combination of face-to-face and online learning over several weeks.

The six new recruits follow in the footsteps of five fellow students who completed the in-house training programme last year and have racked up around 2700 hours of police service.

Students did the training every Wednesday at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus, while they continued their studies and worked part-time as they trained.

The course which was adapted for covid restrictions with some online learning included physical training at the Tulliallan-based Scottish Police College.

Dr Andrew Wooff, Associate Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier, said: “The training is demanding and takes commitment, but the students find it very rewarding and we have tailored it to fit round their studies as best we can.

“This training scheme has been so successful that we are now looking at replicating it across universities and colleges from September, where students from all institutions will train online and in person together.

“This will hopefully enhance the programme further and allow more students from across Scotland to access the opportunity of becoming a Special Constable more easily.”

Special Constables police major sporting and public events and provide an excellent bridge between the police service and the public, representing both the community within the police service and the police service within local communities.

Chief Inspector Claire Miller said: “I am delighted to welcome six new students from Edinburgh Napier into Police Scotland’s Special Constabulary. I am well aware of the significant time and effort that is required to complete the training programme, which is over and above their other studies, and I would like to thank them for their ongoing commitment and wish them every success in their frontline deployments. I would also like to thank Dr Andrew Wooff for working with Police Scotland to adapt the training, to allow it to be built into the students’ timetable, especially during such a challenging year.

“Police Scotland undoubtedly benefits from the experience our volunteers bring, however we also believe that the Special Constabulary offers an exceptional opportunity where you can gain confidence, acquire new skills and truly make a difference in improving the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities in Scotland. I hope the students who became Special Constables last year have discovered this during the extraordinary number of hours they have volunteered for so far. Their dedication during the past year has been outstanding and is greatly appreciated.

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