Special Constables bring a wide range of skills and experiences which boost policing, according to Staffordshire Police Federation chair Lee Robinson.

Lee was speaking after national Federation Specials lead Nicky Ryan highlighted the work of the volunteers when she appeared on TalkTV during the channel’s Police Week.

He said: “Specials make a massive contribution to policing and they are valued colleagues. They bring with them a wide range of different skills and experiences that really enhance the service we deliver to the people of Staffordshire.

“They stand alongside their full-time colleagues on the frontline and the commitment and dedication they show is inspiring.

“We were delighted to welcome them into the Police Federation last year and it is only right that they enjoy the same wide range of support and advice from the Federation as regular officers.”

Nicky told TalkTV that Specials were  an “amazing asset” to policing but said she did not feel the value of Specials was always fully appreciated.

“We need to acknowledge that day in, day out there are Special Constables up and down the country that are carrying out front line duties, detective roles, fighting cybercrime, roads policing - they cover the whole range of duties,” she said.

“The skills that policing gets from them can’t be quantified. They are an amazing asset. We have career Specials with 25 or 30 years’ service and they have so much knowledge and experience.”

Nicky said some people joined the Special Constabulary as a route into a career in policing while others chose to sign up because they wanted to serve their community.

She said several current chief constables and senior officers had begun their policing careers as Specials.

“We have 7,401 Special Constables in England and Wales and last year they volunteered more than 2.5 million hours to policing which equates to just over £61.5 million," she told TalkTV.

“Special Constables can and do perform most of the same duties as their paid colleagues.

“They wear the same uniform, they have the same policing powers and they are expected to perform to the same high standards - performance wise and ethics wise - as paid officers. The only difference is they are volunteers.”

Nicky said Specials were not paid but were reimbursed for any expenses and often volunteered through a strong sense of community and commitment.

“We have all sorts of people, airline pilots, young mums, students - we have a whole range of people from different backgrounds,” she said.

“People do it for a variety of different reasons and we get to utilise their skills and they learn new skills from policing.

“There are all sorts of areas of policing that are opening up to Specials because we now acknowledge the skills and depth of experience that they have.

“We have people from the banking sector, people from the cyber world with a range of skills that far surpasses what we have in policing.”