Newham police Borough Commander Rob Jones on the remarkable role of Special Constables

Newham's Borough Commander Rob Jones.

Newham's Borough Commander Rob Jones. - Credit: Archant

As Newham’s Borough Commander and a life-long Hammer, I read with a sense of excitement about the final confirmation that West Ham United will soon be moving to their new home in the Olympic Stadium.

The experience of the football club is similar to what is happening in the police.

After months of consultation and planning, the future of policing in Newham is starting to take shape.

We now know that after talking to local people about what they want and assessing the operational needs, we will be keeping Stratford Police Station open, as well as Forest Gate and Plaistow.

We will also be welcoming more officers in to help us: after intensive training, many of the new recruits who will be joining us over the next year will start their careers working on the streets in and around Stratford.

If we are going to achieve what we want to do for the public in preventing and detecting crime and keeping people safe, it is essential that we make the best possible use of all our people.

One of the most valuable resources we have at Newham is our fantastic Metropolitan Special Constable (MSC) Unit. We have 190 Special Constables who volunteer their time to work alongside our regular Constables, wearing the same uniform and performing the same duties.

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They are deployed regularly with all our units and volunteered nearly 30,000 hours of their time last year.

Over 5,600 of those hours were spent working on ‘Aid’ deployments during the Olympics, Paralympics and Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, freeing other officers to keep up their regular work in Newham.

In 2012 Newham’s MSC officers also made 279 arrests and carried out over 700 stop and searches; a very significant contribution.

Newham provides a tremendously wide variety of opportunities for Special Constables working on the borough; as well as patrolling regularly with our Response Teams and Safer Neighbourhood Teams, our MSC officers also help out with West Ham Football Club fixtures, at Westfield, the Olympic park and the Excel Centre!

Most of our Special Constables are local Newham residents who care about their community, who want to take responsibility for their area and give something back.

Working in close-knit teams with people from the areas we serve not only provides exceptional opportunities to engage with different communities, but also really promotes understanding and communication between the Met and local residents.

We will soon be introducing a two year career progression plan for both new and existing officers, so that we can support our Special Constables in developing their skills.

Our officers will be able to identify their strengths and through training, mentoring and attachments to different units, continue their professional development to achieve their full potential.

This exciting initiative also means that the Met will have exceptional candidates for the future of policing, both through the Special and the regular Constabularies.

If you are interested in taking on this remarkable role, do please visit the Met Special Constable Recruitment website at for more information.