Utility organisation UK Power Networks has announced that it will be giving its 1,000 Suffolk-based employees an extra 18 days of paid leave to volunteer as special police constables.
As special constables, any UK Power Network employee interested in joining the force will have the same power as a regular officer, complete the same duties and wear the same uniform. They will also work to increase public safety and confidence, all in a bid to help reduce demand on the police service.
To qualify, employees will go through ten weekends of extensive training through the Employer Supported Policing (ESP) volunteer scheme. They will learn about topics including traffic law, first aid, people management, communication and personal safety skills, and will also take part in confidence building training.
Once they have qualified, the new recruits will be asked to commit to 16 hours per week of police time, at hours that suit them.
The organisation hopes to roll out the initiative to all of its 6,000 employees across the country in the near future.
Steve Remnant, head of reward and HR services at UK Power Networks, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to support the communities we serve, UK Power Networks is pleased to work in partnership with Suffolk Police and other forces to allow our employees paid time off for this important civil duty.”
Chief Constable Steve Jupp added: “I’d really like to thank UK Power Networks for [its] commitment to the constabulary’s [ESP] scheme, and my thanks also go to those employees who have signed up for the scheme already and those who are considering it.
“An employer makes quite a commitment when [it agrees] to give staff an extra 18 days’ paid leave, but I have seen for myself how being a special [constable] can make a very positive impact on their substantive post as well. We must not forget the tremendous drive and motivation of everyone who takes on the role of a volunteer special [constable]; their commitment is incredible. Specials add a different perspective to the policing family, so Suffolk Constabulary and UK Power Networks both benefit. It is a real win-win situation.”