Special Constables like Aga to be celebrated by Cambridgeshire Police this week
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is set to celebrate National Volunteers' Week (June 1-12) by thanking the volunteers who contribute to policing activities every day.
There are hundreds already making a difference to their community by volunteering and the constabulary is looking for more like-minded people.
From Specials to police support volunteers and cadet leaders, volunteers play an important part in keeping the county safe.
June 4 and 5 is national Specials Weekend, when the support Special constables provide to policing in England and Wales will be showcased.
The force currently has more than 250 Specials but the aim is to reach 300 next year.
Special Constable Aga Strykier is one of those who serves in our county.
After rejecting an offer to read law at university, Aga left her family in Warsaw to come to the UK in 2009 at the tender age of 19.
She had learnt rudimentary English at school but knuckled down to master the language just before travelling to the UK to read criminology, and eventually law, at Aberystwyth University.
After graduating, she completed a MA Degree in criminology: transnational crime and then applied to become a Special.
Now 25, Aga is a Special of some experience, having worked on the Operation Pheasant team in Peterborough and in the domestic abuse investigation and safeguarding unit in Peterborough, but her main duties are on reactive patrols in Cambridge.
Aga said: “I always wanted to work for the police, hence the choice of my studies, and seeing the opportunity to become a Special at the end of my Masters just seemed perfect.
“The training was absolutely amazing. It went very quickly. I got to meet new people with the same interests and passions and make new friends for life. Training is very convenient for anyone who has a full time position as it’s held evenings and weekends. There is a lot to learn but the instructors are always there to help
“Once you become a Special, you get to know your colleagues and you become friends. Everyone looks after you and helps you get new experiences and learn more.
“Every moment while on duty makes me feel proud and you get such a great feeling when you arrive at the scene of a crime and you can help the victim and then catch the suspect.
“I feel very satisfied after doing good things and I know that I have not wasted my evening sitting in front of the TV: I prevented burglaries, I found a missing person, we got the evidence to prosecute the offender, we stopped a fight.
“My proudest moment was after my first arrest and the feeling it gave me.”
Aga has now begun the process of becoming a regular officer but is undecided as she has had a job in the force’s Central Intelligence Bureau and is about to move to the Beds, Cambs and Herts Major Crime Unit, where she will be an Indexer with Action Management.
“I have gained so many different skills that can be transferred to everyday life”, Aga added.
“I always wanted to work for the police, both for the satisfaction of helping the public and for the excitement of the job. No day is ever the same and you never know what will be the next call from the control room. You never know what to expect and you’re learning every day.
“I would definitely advise other people to apply to become a Special. I’m absolutely loving it and it’s the best experience I have ever had. If you are a motivated person who actually wants to give something back to the community and learn and experience new things, this is definitely the place for you.”
In the 12 months from April last year to March this year, Specials worked nearly 10,000 shifts in Cambridgeshire, amounting to just over 66,000 hours of duty.
Like the regular colleagues they work alongside, Specials are sworn in by a magistrate and have the same powers by law, including power of arrest.
Specials must commit a minimum of four hours a week to their duties.
Chief Constable Alec Wood said: “Our volunteers come from all walks of life and join for many diverse reasons, but the contribution they make is enormous.
“Volunteering is a great opportunity to give something back to your community while getting involved in the exciting world of policing and gaining professional training, skills and experience.
“Those who do join us get a unique insight into the current challenges of delivering local policing and provide an independent voice on behalf of the communities we serve.
“I would like to thank all our volunteers and would encourage anyone else who wants to do something worthwhile in their spare time to visit the recruitment pages of our website.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “The Chief Constable and I both recognise the enormous contribution volunteers make, and are constantly impressed by the level of commitment, professionalism and determination volunteers demonstrate.
“Whilst we recognise that people are able to make different levels of commitment, whatever they give makes a difference and is hugely valued.”
Vic Kerlin, head of the Special Constabulary, said: “This week, culminating in National Specials Weekend, is a great opportunity for me to thank and acknowledge our existing Special officers for their superb work.
“The level of dedication, effort and flexibility they show is a matter of immense pride for the force.
“I would also like to encourage anyone who wants to join the policing team, make a difference to their community and gain invaluable life skills to seriously consider applying to become a Special.
“It’s a great way to do something really worthwhile and discover what you’re capable of. Many have and are immensely grateful that they took the opportunity when they did.
“If you can spare a minimum of four hours a week and want to join our team, visit the force website or attend one our recruitment events which will take place across the county next weekend (June 11-12).”