Special Inspector Esther McLaughlin

Your latest Blog from your West Special Inspector, Esther McLaughlin, who covers the Caerphilly, Torfaen & Blaenau Gwent areas

Loving the warm weather? Imagine wearing a heavy stab vest, protective boots and a big hat in this heat! That’s what my officers have been volunteering to do over the past few weeks. We have had officers assisting with community engagement events, drugs warrants, scrap metal theft and licensing operations, foot patrols, antisocial behaviour patrols, as well as working as normal in their stations.

One of the things I love about my role is hearing great feedback about our Specials. I’ve had quite a few this month. Here are some examples:

SC Stenner had a very busy shift in Torfaen recently, and the PC he was working with said:

“I was really impressed by the work carried by SC Stenner and extremely grateful for his assistance. He wasn’t asked to carry out duties, he just used his own initiative to recognise what needed to be done and he got on with the job in hand and helped out no end”

SC Chaffey, Farrington-Cox and Taylor were out assisting with antisocial behaviour patrols this month, and the officer running the operations said:

“As always, all the officers were professional, and positive comments received from all, their help and commitment was hugely appreciated.”

SC Casely was out working with the neighbourhood team who commented:

“He showed a genuine care and desire to serve the public”

This does not come as a surprise to me, as I know the high quality of Special Constables we have here in Gwent. We are extremely proud and grateful to them all for the time they give to serve their communities.

This month we have 20 new Student Special Constables starting their training with us. These officers will have to undertake several months of hard work to earn their warrant cards, and then further training to become fully operational Special Constables. Their training will prepare them for one of the toughest volunteer roles there is, but also one of the most rewarding. Good luck to you all, and welcome to the Gwent Police family.  

Finally, let me introduce you to Dave, who is one of our seasoned Special constables in Bargoed. Dave has a brilliant attitude to Policing, and is the kind of reliable hard worker that everyone wants on their team.

Dave, why did you join the Specials?

A few years back I felt that I wanted to give something back to the community. I couldn't see myself volunteering in a charity shop or something like that, so I thought about joining the Special Constabulary. So here I am.

What is your day job?

By day I'm an engineering manager, supporting a team of technicians who look after critical productions systems in a semiconductor plant. This I find is very interesting and rewarding. The day to day challenges keep me very busy and switched on to the needs of the company.

What do you gain from being a Special?

Equally, I find being a Special very interesting and rewarding. You meet a diverse spectrum of people from all walks of life. I find this has broadened my view on life and also gives me a feeling of wellbeing when I know that I have helped in some way to assist a member of the public, or the regular officers in carrying out their duties.

What is it like working alongside regular officers?

I am based at Bargoed in the West and I have found that all the officers there were originally very welcoming and have always appreciated when I come in to help with a shift. Due to my day job, I usually end up working evenings on a Friday or Saturday, and this is when it can be very busy. The regular officers know that if I'm turning up to help, they know I'll be there to support them for the entire shift. They treat me as one of the team and I get along well with all of them, whichever shift is on duty.

Being a Special takes a lot of dedication. How do you find a good work life balance?

I'm a single parent and have my teenage son several days a week. When I don't have him, then I'm usually available to support the Bargoed team. I will always put my family first, but my son and his elder sister have always given me their support when it comes to the Special Constabulary. They know that helping makes me happy, so they are happy too.

Do you enjoy your role?

The role of a Special can be challenging, and at times a little stressful as you are put in situations you wouldn't normally find yourself in on a day to day basis. However, when you help someone, or solve a situation either by yourself or with a colleague, then the reward of the role far outweighs the challenges you may have to overcome.

If you see Dave out and about in Bargoed, do say hello. It’s Specials like Dave that make a real difference to their communities, and we are grateful for his commitment and contribution to the team.

For daily updates, follow my team on Twitter @gpspecials

S/Inspector Esther McLaughlin