THE BROW of a wind-swept hill isn’t the first place you would expect to see special constable Josh Haddock on patrol.
Parked inside a rural car park in the South Downs, the 21-year-old Littlehampton man, and his fellow special constable Ian Rose, is doing his bit to reduce crime in rural hot spots.
It’s part of a new drive by Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne to cut crime rates in outlying villages and communities.
And it’s a problem that Josh – call sign Whiskey Alpha 261 – is keen to help tackle.
“It’s a different sort of job,” admitted Josh, a former student at the Littlehampton Community School. “You get to talk to a lot of people while you’re out here.
“Although the type of crimes are different. We get more calls about nuisance, metal theft and burglaries. But every call is important.”
Special constables have exactly the same powers of arrest as regular, paid officers and spend at least 16 hours every month, policing the streets.
However, many chose to do much more than this.
Josh has been a special for about two years and is one of 13 that patrol the Arun district.
Every time he volunteers he goes into the unknown, never knowing what sort of incident he will be called to deal with.
Some are fairly routine, others more tragic which have left a lasting impression on Josh.
More recently, he was the first officer on the scene of a fatal accident on the A259, in Littlehampton, which killed local solider Jeff Stenning, 18.
“I knew the passenger, Leah, who was injured,” recounted Josh. “I helped pull her out of the car.
“I then started CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on the injured man.
“It was a difficult moment but your training just kicks in and you try do everything that you can to help the person who needs it.”
Sussex Police is looking for more people to join the ranks of its special constables.
It hopes to bolster the number of specials patrolling the streets of Sussex from 370 to around 500 in the next year.
Ian, who has been with Sussex Police for about four years, said: “When I first joined I was concerned that the regulars would treat me like a ‘hobby bobby’.
“But there is a really good bond that binds the team together. You get to trust each other. They accepted me straight away.”
He added: “I’m proud of the work I do. I know that it is helping to make a difference.”
The application to become a special constable is available at www.sussexspecials.com
Training takes about ten weeks and is done during your own time.
Once qualified, further training and specialist courses will become available.
Jobs can range from anything to dealing with anti-social disturbances and thefts, to cleaning up the patrol vehicles.
Sgt Roy Hodder was a former special before joining the regular force. He said: “We’re looking to recruit people local to serve within their community.
“So if you’re from Littlehampton, then you would more than likely work in the town and the Arun district as a whole.
“So come forward. I know from my time as a special that it’s a rewarding job.”