Stevie Tiernan– Dispatcher / Special Inspector since 2013
Why did you become a Special?
I don’t want to be a full time Police Officer. I wanted to see what ‘the other side’ was like to help me in my day job. I wanted to understand exactly what it was a police officer did and what they had to deal with. Working in the control room I didn’t fully appreciate how hard their job is.
How does being a Special fit in with your day job?
It fits in very well. I work 24/7 shifts already, so I am extremely fortunate that I can go out and Special on different days and different shifts.
What does a typical shift involve?
A typical shift would involve getting kitted up (stab vest, Tac-vest, radio, pava), attending briefings with the rest of my response squad, sergeants and sometimes inspectors. The briefing informs everyone coming on duty what has happened in previous, anyone who is outstanding wanted, missing, any intelligence on disqualified drivers, drugs, driving without insurance etc. We also look at crime hot spots so we can visit them on patrol.
What’s been your most exciting experience as a Special so far?
As corny as it sounds, I love every shift I do. Every single shift is different! As far as an exciting experience goes there have been plenty of adrenalin-filled moments. These have included having to run down the high street after reports of someone threatening to harm someone else with a glass, having to make an arrest or even assisting the ambulance service with a slow escort from Poole Hospital to Southampton.
What skills have you gained as a Special which have helped in your ‘outside’ life?
So many. I’ve learnt that talking and being calm can get you out of a lot of hairy situations. But I’ve also learnt that you can’t always see the good in people, as people do have a habit of lying.
Why this and not another volunteering role?
I’ve worked with many charities and done various volunteering roles, but nothing compares to being a Special. You get this sense of pride when you do a good job or someone thanks you. It is also touching to see the relief on someone’s face when you arrive to help them. Being a Special also teaches life lessons that you can’t learn anywhere else. You get a sense of the police family that everyone talks about – I love it.
What is the most rewarding thing about becoming a Special?
All of above! Plus, one of the most important things for me being a radio dispatcher is that I can appreciate that little bit more what officers out on the ground have to deal with.
What sort of incidents do you get called to?
Everything you can imagine. Road traffic collisions, sudden deaths, suicides, domestic abuse, concern for welfare of a loved one or friend, dogs left in cars, shoplifting and assaults. If you can think of it - the police deal with it!