Could you join The Specials?
December 4, 2001 2:05 PM   Subscribe

Could you join The Specials? No, not those Specials, these Specials. If you live in and around London and have 96 hours to spare annually, this might be just the volunteer track for you. However, participation in the Special Constabulary of the Metropolitan Police Force is steadily shrinking despite enthusiastic members and recent attempts at compensation.

So is this kind of community stewardship no longer valid? And with the current re-appreciation of U.S. policemen, could a similar program work here in the states? I mean, the Flash animation almost swayed me...
posted by grabbingsand (5 comments total)
grabbingsand: "with the current re-appreciation of U.S. policemen, could a similar program work here in the states?"

NYPD has had the Auxiliary Police Force, a voluntary, community based program for a long time.
posted by tamim at 2:41 PM on December 4, 2001

An interesting Special Constabulary community site I found. Tamim's right, though -- this is fairly common in the US; Chicago has the CAPS community policing program, which involves the police working more closely with the communities and neighborhoods as well as citizen involvement. It's generally accepted that this sort of initiative has been an important factor in the precipitous reduction in crime over the last decade or so, as resources are concentrated better where they're needed, and the sharp boundaries between cops and citizens are eliminated, essentially in many ways a return to the "old fashioned beat cop" who knows all (many of) the business owners as he passes by.

Unfortunately, sometimes these programs are rife with favoritism and corruption; one "park police" agency in Illinois a few years ago was revealed to have some 85 deputized officers drawing salary and issued conceal-carry permits, evne though some of them were felons, and the 85 officers had one park to patrol.
posted by dhartung at 3:20 PM on December 4, 2001

where are 'those' specials now?
posted by goneill at 3:59 PM on December 4, 2001

Programs like this have been happening in the United States. It's rare that they get a whole lot of publicity - it's not everyday that you get a high profile volunteer like Shaquille O'Neal.
posted by bragadocchio at 4:55 PM on December 4, 2001

Now I'm going to be hearing the first Specials you mentioned in my mind all night--not necessarily a bad thing.
posted by gimonca at 6:08 PM on December 4, 2001

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