University pioneers on-campus training programme
A second cohort of Edinburgh Napier students have been sworn in as Special Constables.
The six students – all following courses in the School of Applied Sciences – can now go out on the frontline and join Police Scotland community teams.
They follow in the footsteps of five fellow Edinburgh Napier students who completed an on-campus training programme a year ago and have now racked up around 2700 hours of police service.
Special Constable training requires a combination of face-to-face and online inputs over a series of several weeks.
The in-house programme was devised to meet a growing demand from students to get involved as Special Constables and from Police Scotland to increase the numbers of Special Constables. Edinburgh Napier’s Dr Andrew Wooff worked with Police Scotland to adapt the training to allow it to be built into the students’ timetable.
The first five students undertook their training every Wednesday at Edinburgh Napier’s Sighthill campus, allowing them all to continue their studies and work part-time as they trained.
The training for the second cohort was further adjusted, with elements of the programme moving online to take into account Covid-19-related social distancing requirements. The students used online programmes to get to grips with legislation, while learning about the more physical aspects of the role at the Tulliallan-based Scottish Police College.
Dr Wooff, Associate Professor of Criminology at Edinburgh Napier, said: “It's great to see another six Special Constables sworn in and able to assist Police Scotland.
“The training is demanding and takes commitment, but the students find it very rewarding and we have tailored it to fit to round their studies as best we can. These students will now be involved in supporting the police in a wide range of roles.
“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.”
The Special Constable role is diverse, demanding and rewarding. New recruits can be doing anything from policing a football match to assisting at a road accident. Special Constables also 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.
“I wish our new recruits the very best for their future journey within Police Scotland”
More information here on joining the Special Constabulary.