Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Special Opportunity to Make a Big Difference; Want to Give Something Back to Your Community? Volunteering as a Metropolitan Police Special Constable Can Give You a Real Sense of Achievement and Teach You Some Valuable Skills, Says Niki Chesworth

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Special Opportunity to Make a Big Difference; Want to Give Something Back to Your Community? Volunteering as a Metropolitan Police Special Constable Can Give You a Real Sense of Achievement and Teach You Some Valuable Skills, Says Niki Chesworth

Article excerpt

Byline: Niki Chesworth

THOUSANDS of people from all over London decide to commit their spare time and energy to becoming volunteer police officers -- otherwise known as "Specials" -- with the Metropolitan Police Service. But few realise their calling quite so early on in life as Nikhil Manek.

"My mum told me that even as a young boy I was excited by the sound of sirens," says Nikhil. "So you could say that becoming a Special was realising a childhood dream. Of course, there's much more to volunteering than the challenge and excitement of actual policing.

"After qualifying as a chartered accountant in 2009 I wanted to find something to do that was constructive but also allowed me to give something back to the community where I grew up. It was at the same time that I joined my company's forensic accountancy practice, where we often interact with police officers and investigate economic crime."

These are quite common motivations for volunteering. Many people share Nikhil's desire to combine the idea of giving something back with a useful, productive role that enables them to see the outcome of their efforts. But there are many other benefits to the role -- particularly the training.

"My classroom training covered everything from going through my powers as a police officer -- which are exactly the same as regular officers -- to applicable laws and dealing with thefts, robberies and drunk and disorderly behaviour from a legal perspective," adds Nikhil. "You also get to learn how to use a police radio -- which is crucial. On the practical side, officer safety training teaches you things like how to use handcuffs safely and lawfully, selfdefence techniques and how to use the police baton. Emergency life support training includes everything from dealing with wounds and cuts to how to use a defibrillator, so all of this comes in handy for everyday life."

So how has Nikhil managed to put his training into practice? "I've dealt with a range of incidents, but one event in particular stands out for me. …

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