A special constable is a volunteer police officer who works with professional police in the United Kingdom. The job is analogous to police reservists in the United States and similar in many respects to volunteer firefighters. Although these volunteers typically receive no cash payment for their service, they are rewarded for their work in other ways.
A major reward for being a special constable is a chance to serve your community. A special constable is a fully empowered police officer, and he is responsible for enforcing the law and occasionally saving the day. This alone is motivation enough for some to take on this job.
Special constables receive training in communication, driving, criminology, public safety, criminal law, self defence and weapons. In some cases, it's the same training paid police receive. This training is free of charge, and enhances a resume for a variety of positions. Some of the training -- notably defensive driving and advanced weapons training -- are things people pay thousands of dollars to receive through private instruction.
Working as a special constable or police reservist is one of the best ways to prepare for a career in law enforcement. It demonstrates your seriousness about the job and that you are willing to support the cause. Many law enforcement agencies have policies that give preference to volunteers when a new paid opening appears.
Special constables fulfil the same job duties as regular police officers, and they use the same equipment. Some of this equipment becomes the property of the special constable, while other equipment is checked out from the department and returned when the special constable quits or retires.