1st Edition

The Special Constabulary Historical Context, International Comparisons and Contemporary Themes

Edited By Karen Bullock, Andrew Millie Copyright 2018
    192 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    192 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Special constables are warranted officers retained within British constabularies. Wearing similar uniforms, carrying the same personal protective equipment and holding identical powers to enforce the criminal law, special constables are to all intents and purposes indistinguishable from their colleagues in the regular police service. However, very little is documented about the experiences and motivations of special constables, the roles they play in contemporary policing or the impact that they have on the police organisation.

    This book draws together academics and practitioners to provide a valuable insight into historical, international and contemporary themes pertinent to the historical development and contemporary operation of the special constabulary. The book critically considers the origins of the special constabulary and the political, social and economic factors which led to its evolution over time. It compares and contrasts the organisation, functions and status of the special constabulary with other auxiliary forces, notably from the United States. The book also contributes to theoretical understanding of contemporary policing, to debates about the roles and operation of the 'mixed economy' of provision, and informs policy and practice in the United Kingdom and beyond.

    1. Introduction (Karen Bullock and Andrew Millie)

    2. On the nature of volunteering and the Special Constabulary: A critical reflection (Bryn Caless)

    3. Special Constables and the birth of ‘regular’ policing (Clare Leon)

    4. From special constables to Special Constabularies (Clare Leon)

    5. Who volunteers for the Special Constabulary? (Graham Hieke)

    6. General perspectives on volunteer motivation within the Special Constabulary (Graham Hieke)

    7. International perspectives: A comparison of reserve and auxiliary programmes in the United Kingdom and the United States (Karen Bullock)

    8. The beliefs and values of police volunteers (Andrew Millie)

    9. Legislation, powers and governance of a special constable (Vince Straine-Francis)

    10. Increasing value for money through reducing premature wastage in the Special Constabulary (Joseph Whittle)

    11. Strategic direction and leadership of the Special Constabulary (Iain Britton and Matthew Callender)

    12. Conclusions (Karen Bullock and Andrew Millie)


    Karen Bullock is Professor of Criminology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey. Her research interests lie in the fields of policing and crime prevention theory and practice. Karen’s most recent book is Citizens, Community and Crime Control (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).

    Andrew Millie is Professor of Criminology and Director of the Police Research Unit at Edge Hill University. His research is interdisciplinary drawing on philosophy, theology and human geography to inform criminal justice and criminological debates. His most recent book is Philosophical Criminology (Policy Press, 2016). Andrew is also Editor of Policy Press’s New Horizons in Criminology book series.

    "The Special Constabulary is a long-overdue addition to our knowledge of policing in the UK. This text, with contributions from established scholars, new researchers as well as practitioners, discusses in detail a topic of incredible importance to contemporary policing, but of which we still know relatively little. It is a comprehensive and insightful analysis of the Special Constabulary which will be of interest to a wide audience."

    - Megan O’Neill, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee, UK

    "Special Constables have been an important member of the police family since the mid-nineteenth century and have been heralded as a vital resource and the embodiment of the much-cited Peelian principle that ‘the police and the public, and the public are the police’. This collection provides greatly needed discussion and analysis of the various roles Special Constables perform and offers a wide-range of insights into a central but generally under-researched dimension of the police service. In a period where the pluralisation of policing is widely recognised, Bullock and Millie bring together a fascinating set of perspectives on one of the longest running elements of police service delivery: the role of voluntary constables. This book will be an important reference point for all of those interested in future organisation of police, public trust and confidence, and efforts to promote professional and democratically-accountable policing."

    - Michael Rowe, Professor of Criminology, Department of Social Sciences, Northumbria University, UK