Over 100 special constables in Leicestershire are stepping up and striding out as frontline officers during the coronavirus outbreak.
They are proving themselves truly special after the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) made a new plea to their employers.
Senior officers called on companies to provide paid leave to special constables so they can support the force in tackling the impact of Covid-19.
Public-spirited Specials receive the same rigorous training as full-time officers.
The volunteer cops also hold the same powers and responsibilities of a full-time officer and manage the role alongside their normal employment.
Under Operation Formidable, the special constables will be placed into teams.
They will work a minimum of one early and one late shift over a seven-day period.
One of those special constables stepping up is Gautambir Singh Soin, who works for mobile phone giant Vodafone.
“I signed up to be a special constable to give a little bit back to my community – and to do my part by helping the people of Leicestershire and Rutland,” said Gautambir.
“This global pandemic is a test for us all.
“I’m proud and honoured to be able to stand alongside Leicestershire Police’s frontline officers to ensure everyone stays safe.”
He admitted frontline policing is very different to his day job – but he’s relishing the exciting challenge.
“I work full-time developing software for Vodafone.
“They support me with my policing duties where they can,” said Gautambir.
“Now, they’re allowing me to provide resilience to the force when it’s needed most and support our communities during a period of great need.”
Supt Adam Slonecki is the force’s lead for Volunteers in Policing and oversees special constables.
“Covid-19 is a serious national threat.
“Our special constables are stepping up to provide vital support at a time when our regular workforce numbers are compromised by the virus,” said Supt Slonecki.
“We’ve developed an operational plan that involves officers from our Special Constabulary to devote more hours of part of our resilience to Covid-19 and the impact on our resources.
“It doesn’t override any advice that’s been given to the public in terms of self-isolation.”
Supt Slonecki said he believes both special constables and their employers will see long-term benefits from stepping up.
“I’m grateful to those people and those businesses who employ special constables across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland for supporting their staff and allowing them to help us at such an unprecedented time,” he said.
“I realise it’s been such a big ask, especially as many organisations are also having to manage and operate on low staffing levels and asking employees to work from home.
“But Employer Supported Policing is a powerful way for organisations to demonstrate their social responsibility.
“I am confident that both employer and employee will benefit from the experience gained during such a critical time.”