Employer Supported Policing (ESP) has been highlighted by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, in his Community Safety and Criminal Justice plan as a scheme to work closer with local businesses to bring vital skills to the policing and community safety arena.

Community Safety and Criminal Justice Plan

A national and local initiative, ESP provides businesses with the opportunity to forge closer links with their local policing teams.

By supporting employees who volunteer as Special Constables, the employer and their staff benefit from police training and experience - equipping both with transferable skills that can be used in the workplace.

In his plan, Commissioner Lloyd has encouraged businesses across Hertfordshire to support Employer Supported Policing. He says: "Keeping Hertfordshire safe is everybody’s business and organisations can play their part by supporting employees to become Special Constables. I hope that we will also bring all serving Specials in Hertfordshire onto the scheme."

ESP also allows police to learn about the issues which matter to local businesses and offers benefits in terms of staff development. Some supporters of the ESP scheme in Hertfordshire include, but are not limited to Tesco, Which?, Mc Mullen Brewery and Sons and District and Borough Councils.

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How it works


Staff volunteer to become Employer Supported Special Constables - volunteer police officers, who are supported by their employers to carry out police duties in a designated area in Hertfordshire. They will have full police powers, uniform and equipment, and work alongside regular police officers

For more information on becoming a Special Constable click the button below.

Become a Special Constable


As a supporting employer, an organisation agrees for their employee/s to train as Special Constables - volunteer police officers. Once fully trained – Specials will carry out police duties in Hertfordshire with full police powers. Specials are required to carry out a minimum of 16 hours of duty a month. The Special has flexibility with the hours they can volunteer, including evenings and weekends.

In return an employer will receive a highly trained and skilled member of staff. They will continue to carry out their usual "day job" at their workplace with the added benefits of police training and experience.

Skills include:

  • Confidence and assertiveness
  • Legal knowledge and application
  • Conflict resolution
  • Crime prevention expertise
  • Public safety experience and skills
  • Improved relationships with police teams and senior officers

Meet our ESP Special


Jon is a Special Constable whose employer has signed up to Employer Supported Policing. This allows Jon to dedicate a few of his working hours each month to being a Special Constable.

Communications Operator

What does your full-time job entail?

I answer 999 emergency calls and 101 non-emergency calls for in Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Force Communications Room. I also dispatch officers to incidents.

What made you apply to become a Special Constable?

I wanted to gain more knowledge of the law and the police as a whole, in particular how incidents are dealt with. I also wanted develop a number of skills which I could use in other aspects of life.

How did you find the training?

The training had a good mix between theory based classroom training and practical training. This was beneficial as it allowed us to put skills we had learnt into practice promptly. The personal safety training was tough however very enjoyable and gave you a good insight into some of the situations you are likely to find yourself in.

What area do you cover?

I work with the Response team in Hertsmere. We respond to 999 emergency calls.

How do you find the balance between work, personal life and being a Special Constable?

Doing shift work for my main job allows me to have a good balance between work, being a Special and my personal life. It also allows me to work a number of different shifts as a Special Constable so I experience a wide variety of incidents.

Do you find the skills you’ve gained as a Special have helped your career, and vice versa?

The skills I have gained in my role as a Special have given me a much better understanding of the incidents reported to me whilst working in the control room which in turn has helped me to deal with the calls better and more confidently.

What do you like about being a Special Constable?

The diversity of the role and the variety of incidents you deal with. I like that we get treated the same as regular officers – we are able to deal with the same exciting and high profile incidents.

What has been your most memorable incident?

My first call on Saturday was to a domestic incident. As a result I arrested the offender for a number of offences and then conveyed him to custody and booked him in. I then returned to the address of the incident and completed witness and victims statements, before completing all my paperwork at the station. Although this took the whole shift it was nice to see the incident all the way through. As a result of this, the victim was safeguarded from harm, the offender was charged with a number of offences, and my work was recognised by the Chief Inspector who thanked me for my hard work.


Employer Supported Policing (ESP) is an active, powerful and innovative way for organisations and the police service to work proactively together to assist the local community.

Special Constables undertake training to develop transferable skills in seven core areas which they can apply back at their organisation:

  • Personal responsibility
  • Effective communication
  • Resilience
  • Problem Solving
  • Customer focus
  • Teamwork
  • Respect for diversity

Other benefits for employers include, but are not limited to:

  • Exceptional staff development opportunities in core skills
  • Enhanced corporate social responsibility
  • Proactive working between businesses and the Police
  • Support for local communities
  • Improved staff morale and enhanced work performance

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.

Duty Commitments

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.

Want to find out more?

Hertfordshire Constabulary is keen to work with local businesses to encourage, support and sustain their staff's work as Special Constables alongside their day to day career and employment.

Our Employer Supported Policing scheme is extremely flexible. Each organisation can choose the level of involvement to suit their individual circumstances.

You may find that you have existing Special Constables working for you who could benefit from carrying out their duties with your support through ESP.

To find out more or register your organisation’s interest in ESP:

Contact us to register your interest in ESP

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