Corny as it might sound, it’s about giving something back and making a contribution to society - so says the chief officer of the island’s special constables at the start of a new recruitment drive.
It might be an unpaid position, but Dean Johnson says the non-financial rewards more than make up for that.
’For me, personally, and for the majority, it’s putting something back into the community and to challenge yourself and serve the Isle of Man. It really is as altruistic as that,’ he said.
’There’s a great deal of satisfaction in working in a team and seeing a job through to its conclusion, making a positive contribution to island society.’
The ideal candidate, he says, will be over 18 as well as being adaptable and flexible and a good communicator. They will also be robust mentally and physically, open-minded, inquisitive by nature and aiming to challenge themselves.
There’s a notional upper age of 55 but there may be a little flexibility on that. Ideally entrants will possess GCSE or ’O’ level English language, but, again, that’s open to some negotiation on an individual basis. There’s also an interview as well as a basic fitness and eye-sight test.
A training programme for the successful candidates starts on April 8 and runs over six successive Saturdays. This includes a basic introduction to the law relevant to police work, as well as sessions on first aid and personal safety, handling batons, handcuffs and Parva spray.
’Only then are people issued with equipment and deployed operationally where they are mentored and tutored on the street on patrol with an experienced officer. Overall it’s about a four to five month process,’ he said.
While traditionally the Specials have been seen as extra man (or woman) power at busy times, the role has developed in recent years.
’We try to make use of it if you can bring skills from your day job like IT or finance. And there are the other divisions like roads policing, firearms and alcohol unit.’
The time commitment is around eight hours per month but the demands are flexible and recruits can do more if they wish. Whilst it’s unpaid there can be some allowances paid and some recompense for special duties, say during TT time. Candidates come from a diverse range of backgrounds. Mr Johnson, who originally joined in 1996 but has had a couple of spells away from the force, works as an airline pilot in his day job.
’We expect similar professionalism to the regular force but candidates will find no two days are the same.
’You never know what you will be dealing with and at times it can be exciting too,’ he said.
Applications are now open and anyone interested should contact the police station on 631212 for more information.