Exciting new roles for Suffolk's volunteer police officers

Crowds packed the Obelisk arena to dance in the sun. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Latitude is Suffolk's fourth largest town for one weekend each year - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

In his latest column, Suffolk police chief constable Steve Jupp writes about policing the recent Latitude Festival, and plans to use Special Constables in new roles.

The Latitude festival took place between July 22 and 26. I was delighted to attend on the Friday. For this period the festival becomes, in effect, the fourth largest town in Suffolk with close to 40,000 people attending.

For the time I was there I can say it was a great atmosphere, the sun shone, and the different variety of entertainment was absolutely wonderful.

The constabulary has supported the festival since it started in 2006 and since then we have developed a really effective and positive working relationship with the festival organiser and their security.

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Steve Jupp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Suffolk Constabulary chief constable Steve Jupp Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

It was good to catch up with Melvin Benn on my visit. Whilst the festival is very family orientated, we have never been complacent about the need to provide effective policing and to work with the organisers to ensure we can keep all those that attend, and all our communities living close to the site, safe.

Planning for the policing operation starts early in the year and we have a full public order and public safety command structure, with trained and experienced commanders, in place to provide the leadership and direction of the policing operation. We use the best available intelligence to target those who see festivals as a place to make money either through theft or supplying drugs and each year we put in place targeted operations that prove successful.

The combined efforts of the police and the organisers kept crime levels low this year with only eight arrests and recorded crimes that were the lowest we have seen for many years.

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Whilst next year’s Latitude seems a long way off it’s only a few months before the constabulary will start to plan for the 2022 festival. I would like to thank all those who attended the festival this year, organisers and security staff for their joint support during the four days.

I was pleased to recently attend the ground-breaking ceremony at the first totally new-build Police and Fire Station in Suffolk which is located in Stowmarket.

The new joint station, serving the Stowmarket area, boasts a range of green credentials and is expected to be operational in June 2022. This facility is the latest in a programme of joint fire and police stations across the county, aiming to reduce costs for both public services and improve joined-up work between the two blue-light services.

Work has started on the first totally new-build Police and Fire Station in Suffolk. The new joint st

Left to right: Temporary Chief Fire Officer, Dan Fearn; Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, County Councillor Andrew Reid, and Chief Constable Steve Jupp at the start of the new Stowmarket joint fire and police station new-build - Credit: Archant

The Stowmarket station is the first new-build that has been undertaken by this blue light collaboration to date - the 11 other shared stations have all involved refurbishment and extensions on existing fire station sites. It was great to mark the start of works on this exciting project last month.

We are always looking for people to join the Suffolk Special Constabulary, and plans are currently in place to put some Specials in specialised roles going forward.

Three new fully trained Special Constables have recently joined the Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing team (RAPT) in a trial which commenced on 1 July 2021. A need was identified to focus on training and development of the Special Constabulary into specialist areas, and this is the first area to focus on. The new Specials Roads Policing team was launched with the vision to recruit a small number of selected Specials who would be trained to the same standard and level as their regular colleagues to fully support and enhance the team.

Looking at other forces and how they train and integrate their specials into the Roads Policing team clearly underpinned Suffolk’s vison which focuses on the on the fatal four: speeding, drug and drink driving, seatbelts and using mobile phones while driving.

Current members of the Special Constabulary who were interested in these roles went through the same robust recruitment process that regular officers achieve. Initial uptake was high which resulted in three applicants being successful for the trial. Two Officers will be based in Bury and the third at police headquarters.

Each Special Constable will deploy in a RAPT vehicle and will complete a minimum of 40 hours to ensure retention of their skills and experience. Already one officer has completed 112 hrs in the first month which is a tremendous achievement.

The new Specials Roads Policing Unit has created a much-needed additional flexible resource and once fully qualified these specials will be able to deploy countywide to support RAPT in policing Suffolk’s strategic road network.

Next, we will be looking at putting Specials into specialist roles within our Crime Safeguarding and Incident Management Department, where Special Constables will be trained to support our CID officers. We will begin by trialling this with a small number of our current Specials, who will become highly trained in areas of investigation, and our vision is to then recruit further CID Specials externally.

Future plans are also in place to enhance the support our Specials provide in Cybercrime so please look out for future recruitment correspondence about volunteering from our Citizens in Policing team if this is an area that is of interest to you or contact them now for more details @ SPvolunteers@suffolk.police.uk

Additionally, we are still currently recruiting for full time police officers - if you are interested in joining us full details are can be found on our constabulary website.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning we currently have a Click Before You Call campaign to help you save time when contacting our control room. Instead of calling our 101 number in a non-emergency it is likely to be quicker to log on to Suffolk.police.uk/contact us to report an issue.