Scotland business

BT joins Police Scotland special constable recruitment scheme

Around 7,000 of BT's staff in Scotland are being targeted in the recruitment drive.
Image caption Special constables are paired with regular police officers, and have the same powers

Telecoms giant BT has become the first major employer to join a Police Scotland recruitment scheme.

The initiative will see thousands of BT and Openreach staff in Scotland encouraged to volunteer as police special constables.

Employees will be offered ten days paid leave per year for training or operational duties.

Special constables, who are recruited on a voluntary basis, have the same powers as regular police officers.

They also carry the same equipment and wear the same type of uniform.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Phil Gormley said he was "delighted" by the move.

He added: "Members of the special constabulary provide a vital link between policing and the public; by volunteering, individuals epitomise public-spiritedness and I know that our special constables take great pride in what they do."

"Those who volunteer bring skills and knowledge from their day job and their communities that benefit policing both locally and nationally.

"I personally value the contribution of special constables and I hope that initiatives such as this encourage others to join us to enhance the delivery of policing."

'Conflict resolution'

Openreach engineering manager Ricky Drummond, 49, has been a special in Bathgate for the past two years.

He said: "I've gained transferable skills to take back into the workforce and develop my skills within Openreach - team working, conflict resolution, life skills and physical activity carried out by special constables on duty.

"The skills you get in training totally equip you for being out on the road with regular constables. When you're teamed up with a regular constable you're treated exactly the same as a regular constable and you have exactly the same powers."

Anyone wanting to volunteer as a special constable must be aged at least 18, be physically and mentally able to undertake police duties and meet the national eyesight standard.

They must also not have an occupation or business interest that is considered to be a conflict of interest with the role of a special constable.