FOR Jason Carmichael, becoming a Special Constable is fulfilling a lifelong dream of joining the police.

At the age of 45, the construction company owner is realising his ambition and training to become a volunteer officer with Dyfed-Powys Police.

Special constables come from all walks of life, and have the same powers as regular officers. The only difference is that the time they give to the force is voluntary.

Mr Carmichael, from Cross Hands, application form, interview, fitness test, written tests and vetting and has spent the past few months in training, every other weekend. He is now just weeks away from his attestation to become a warranted officer, when he will not only be given full police powers, but the pride of knowing he never gave up.

“I have always wanted to be a police officer since I was a little boy and I remember going to an open day in Bridgend when I was 16,” he said.

“This huge officer was there looking down on me – you had to be six foot tall to join back then – and he told me to come back when I was 23 and had a bit more experience.

“On the way home my father asked me what my plan was now. I decided to go to college and do A Levels, but still then I was only 18 so I joined our family company and became a qualified carpenter.

“I fell into the business and by the time I was 23 I became an integral part of it and wanted to help make it a success, so I never went back to join the police.

“As time went by I had a few hankerings, but by then I had a mortgage and responsibilities with the business so the time was never right.

“It’s been an itch I didn’t scratch for all that time.”

It was a post advertising Specials recruitment on the Dyfed-Powys Police Facebook page that set the ball rolling, as Mr Carmichael decided to take the plunge and apply.

Before becoming a Special, potential officers must take part in eight weekends of training which are a mixture of classroom-based learning and physical training. This is a chance for the trainees to meet the rest of the intake, and get a real taste of life as a police officer.

“I was 45 and wondered if I was too old,” he said. “I read about what you needed to do to apply, and all the requirements of training and the role itself, then worked at getting myself back to fitness. I discovered there is no upper age limit to the role.

“The physical training has been very physical. We have learned self-defence, how to restrain people, how to carry out searches, conflict management and how to make an arrest.

“In our last personal safety training class we put our full operational kit on and learned how to put handcuffs on correctly and the different methods of doing so.

“That made it very real that we’ll become fully warranted officers with the power of arrest. I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realise about Specials – that we are fully trained officers, and will be out doing the job of a paid officer. Even our uniform is exactly the same.”

Specials must volunteer a minimum of 16 hours a month, and as long as they complete a log book following their attestation, they become independent after 12 months.  They then have the option of spending time with the roads policing units, in mental health triage, or even joining the team of Specials on horseback – wherever their interests lie.

“There are so many options available and everybody I’ve told has been so positive about it,” Mr Carmichael said.

“The only slightly negative reaction I’ve had is people asking how I’ll find the time to do it.

“To be honest, I thought you had to commit a lot more time than you do. You only need to give a minimum of 16 hours a month, and that’s what triggered me to apply.

“Everyone has hobbies or they follow a sport, and they manage to fit that in without people questioning it. In a way, this is my interest so I will find time to do it.

“I just love doing it. I love coming in, and everybody we’ve met has been so enthusiastic about it. It sounds so exciting.

“When I put my uniform on it felt completely normal. It just felt right.

“In my mind, because I always wanted to be an officer I put it on and thought ‘well now I am’.”

Recruitment for Special Constables will open in the New Year. Follow @DPPSpecials on Twitter, Heddlu Dyfed Powys Police on Facebook, or visit https://www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/en/join-the-police/special-constables/ for information on applying.

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