Derbyshire Police Federation

Award-winning Special is the ‘Rolls-Royce’ of volunteers

9 November 2022

Robert Jones

Special Sergeant Robert Jones.

A Rolls-Royce employee who spends 40 hours a month volunteering for Derbyshire Police has been named the Force’s Special Constable of the Year.

Special Sergeant Robert Jones has been serving alongside regulars since February 2016 and describes policing as his passion – adding “I see myself as a career Special.”

The 26-year-old, who is involved in supply chains for the aero-engine manufacturer, explains: “Policing was always something I wanted to do ever since I was a little lad. I started my apprenticeship at Rolls-Royce and saw an advert for the Special Constabulary.

“My intention was to join the regulars in time, but things happened career-wise and now I found a happy medium between my day job and being a Special. I still get the same enjoyment and the feeling of making that difference as when I first joined.

“Obviously, there’s no pay or anything. It’s just pure passion that keeps me volunteering as a Special. It’s part of me now.”

Robert was named Derbyshire Special Constable of the Year for 2022 at a Force awards ceremony held at Pride Park stadium on Wednesday 2 November. In total 13 trophies were handed out to those who make ‘outstanding contributions to making Derbyshire safer’.

These included:

  • Community Police Officer of the Year - PC Justin Baker
  • Police Community Support Officer of the Year - PCSO Zaneta Pieprzak
  • Police Staff Member of the Year – Sarah Robbins
  • Student Police Officer of the Year – PC Nathan Todd
  • Police Cadet of the Year – Luke Preston.

Chief Constable Rachel Swann reflected: “To have all those people in a room – who have given so much to keep our county safe – was fantastic.”

Robert was nominated once before and didn’t win. So, his success this time came as a surprise. It was in recognition of his enthusiastic leadership of a team of six Special Constables and his efforts to drive forward change within the Special Constabulary.  

Some of his work colleagues have joined the Specials thanks to Robert’s encouragement and he was also the face of an Employee Supported Policing campaign that Rolls-Royce supported around volunteering.

He explains: “I put my all into it. There’s nothing I won’t try or get involved in. I’m enthusiastic about change and making a better Special Constabulary. I feel like my team is on a journey and making good progress. It’s great to be a part of that.”

Robert believes Specials bring to policing their varied skills and different ways of looking at problems. But policing has also changed him for the better too.

“When I first started, I could never have expected the impact I can have on so many people’s lives,” he says. “I think of domestic violence cases. When you deal with an incident, and as you are walking out the door someone says ‘You have changed my life. You have given me a fresh start,’ it is nice to hear those words and helps to confirm that you are doing what you set out to do.”

Robert is also very grateful to his partner and family for being supportive of the time he puts into policing. He also feels like an integral part of the team of regulars that he has worked with since he began volunteering. He mucks in with whatever is required, from guarding crime scenes, to sitting at hospitals or dealing with prisoners.

And he advises new Specials to do the same. “The more you put into it, the more you get out of the role,” he says.

Robert is delighted that Specials are now allowed to join the Police Federation and benefit from the representation and legal support this provides.

Reflecting on his award, he concludes: “It was nice to hear the nomination and the way it was read. Of course, I don’t volunteer for awards but because I am passionate about the Specials and that’s why I do it. It was a proud moment for me to receive the award and I think that is a reflection of the love I have for the role.”




March 2023