Bradford’s Kirkgate Shopping is piloting the West Yorkshire Police ‘Be Special’ scheme by putting four employees forward to train as special constables.
The ‘Be Special’ campaign trains individuals to become volunteer police officers who provide a range of duties creating a vital link between the police and the community.
Marc Hemingway (34) from Bradford, is the first of four Kirkgate Shopping security staff to complete the initial training.
Marc said: “I collected my warrant card and uniform at an event held at Bradford College last month. I’ve still got around 12 months of accruing volunteer hours before I’m fully ‘qualified’ but I’m thoroughly enjoying the role so far.
“I feel a real pride in the uniform and the experience has been extremely beneficial to my job at Kirkgate Shopping. Special constables volunteer their own time to the police force and in April I’ve been assigned to work on crowd control at the Tour de Yorkshire event which will be a really interesting occasion. We can also be called out to major incidents so there’s a real feeling of added responsibility.”
He added: “I had a lot of support from the centre’s management team and received funding from City Centre Beat throughout my training which allowed me to continue getting a salary and not use my holiday entitlement. I’m really thankful to Kirkgate Shopping for believing in me.”
Based in the hub of Bradford, Kirkgate Shopping plans to have a special constable on duty every day, which will increase during busy periods, adding to its continued excellence in delivering customer service.
Kirkgate Shopping’s operations manager, Bill McCormack, said: “Our special constables are like police officers in the workplace, they have the same powers of arrest and we can see they hold the same pride for the uniform. We are already witnessing other local businesses follow in our footsteps to join this brilliant scheme and would urge them to invest in and support their staff as we have. The boost to the individual’s morale and sense of pride in the role is something we feel very strongly about encouraging across our entire Kirkgate team.”