Getting Involved - The Process
There are a number of ways for a business to become an Employer Supported Policing organisation. The options below are examples of how you could choose to get involved – the exact details are flexible and can be adapted. Once we've agreed on an option, you'll sign a Memorandum of Agreement (not a formal contract) with the police.
Existing Specials within your organisation?
You may already have a member of staff working for you who volunteers as a Police Special who could benefit by your organisation signing up to ESP. You might support your staff by giving them a certain amount of hours per month as paid leave for training and duties, which they can supplement with extra hours in their spare time. We are able to help you develop policies or guidelines that make your support clear to staff.
Give staff paid leave
As an ESP organisation, you can support staff who are interested in becoming Specials by agreeing a number of hours of paid leave, either per month or per year, for them to undertake training and/or duties.
Give staff unpaid leave
You might support your staff by giving them unpaid leave for mandatory training, duties, or in in times of significant emergency. If your organisation offers flexible working, this may also be an option for supporting your staff, to agree their working schedule alongside Specials duties.
Work with us to promote the scheme
You might work with the police to promote the Special Constabulary and police volunteering in your workplace. This could include displaying posters, sharing leaflets, holding recruitment drives or publishing information in your staff magazine or intranet. It may be possible to support your efforts by holding roadshows at your workplace to promote the scheme.
To find out more about Employer Supported Policing, please register your interest by emailing - ESP@herts.police.uk and we will be in touch with you.
Training – How does it work?
Initial training takes place over twelve weeks and is delivered in a blended learning style – a mix of distance learning via online training packages, which can be completed at home, as well as mandatory classroom and role play sessions at a regional training centre where Specials will get the chance to practice skills and demonstrate knowledge of the law. Please note: this may include six consecutive days of training, usually Monday to Saturday, for Officer Safety Training. Specials may need to take time off from their day job to attend this training.
There will be a range of on-going training opportunities for Special Constables to complete, some of which will be mandatory.
Many employers allow use of additional paid leave for the completion of training because of the valuable skills employees gain and bring back to the workplace.
Special Constables are required to commit 16 hours a month as a minimum. Some of these hours can be worked in evenings and on weekends and therefore should not impact with your employee’s day job too much.
Developing a HR policy
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) advise that businesses implement written guidelines to ensure that line managers, current Special Constable employees and potential Specials understand your organisation’s policy, such as time off for training.
A policy template is available from the OPCC for organisations wishing to adopt the ESP scheme.
It’s good to keep in touch
Regular contact between the Constabulary, employers and Special Constables is invaluable, as it ensures a high level of commitment to the ESP scheme is maintained and that those involved feel supported. Quarterly newsletters are produced by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office to share good news stories and give an overview of some of the ways in which Special Constables have been involved in protecting the public and increasing public confidence.
An attestation and graduation ceremony is held at the end of training to mark the successful completion of the course. This event is attended by friends and family but, as an employer signed up to ESP, you are invited to attend and celebrate with your employee.
Our Commitment to you
We will provide your employees with comprehensive training and the skills necessary for them to become a competent police officer. Many of the skills they will develop are transferable and can be used equally well in the workplace. This training is provided at no additional cost to the employer so there's no financial deterrent to employers in allowing their staff to build new skills and confidence.
We will recognise the commitment of ESP organisations and their Special Constables at an annual event hosted by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire.
We will maintain regular contact with you via quarterly newsletters and an annual check-in system.
We will provide you with a named contact at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire who you can contact us any time should you have any questions or concerns by email at ESP@herts.police.uk
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is the main aim of ESP?
To provide enhanced policing throughout communities in Hertfordshire by providing a visible, knowledgeable and accountable uniformed policing presence; to provide police training and experience for staff of employers across Hertfordshire with those staff supported by their day job employer; to strengthen relationships and networks between police and organisations.
Q. Can I choose when I release my staff on duty?
Upon completion of training, times of duty are agreed between employers, volunteer staff and police supervisors. Special Constables are required to commit 16 hours a month as a minimum but some of these hours can be worked in evenings and on weekends and therefore will not impact on their normal day to day job.
Q. Do Special Constables/police volunteers receive any form of payment?
They may receive their normal work salary from your business as paid leave, but they receive no pay from the Police. Certain allowances are paid and travelling expenses reimbursed while going to/from duty so Specials are not out of pocket.
Q. What can my staff do when off-duty in their day job?
In most cases, it is not appropriate for the member of staff to become on-duty during their normal working hours to make arrests etc. However, your staff will have the extra skills, training, confidence, knowledge and experience at their disposal should an incident or appropriate event arise, and can act as an ‘expert witness’ in many situations. Special Constables will also receive training for problem solving, crime prevention and other key skills that may be very relevant in their application within your organisation.
Q. How is the recruitment process managed?
Hertfordshire Constabulary will handle all Special Constable applications at every step of the selection process. We ask you to actively market the scheme to staff and managers and then support staff by providing paid or unpaid leave to support initial/on-going training and their deployments.
Q. If I have existing Special Constables in employment before becoming an ESP employer can they ‘transfer in’?
Yes. If you already have employees that are Special Constables you can agree with them what offer of support you are able to provide. Once this has been agreed, you the employer would then update their Hertfordshire Constabulary duty sheet details to reflect their employment with your organisation.
Q. Will I lose staff to the police?
The experience of ESP for pioneering forces like the Constabulary suggests that, on the whole, the scheme helps employers to retain key staff. Many employees, through the training they have received, have increased their confidence and skills, and deeply value their employer’s support for their volunteering.
There are positive examples where Special Constables have been retained and promoted within their organisation, due to the valuable skills developed within their volunteering.
There is a possibility that some staff may wish to apply to become a regular Police Officer, for which the same application process would apply to them like any member of the public.