6 November 2022
A Special chief inspector who ‘loves’ volunteering with the Force has told how the role is ‘like no other’ as he speaks about the importance of joining the Police Federation.
Arron Kirkham (44) has been a Derbyshire Special for 15 years, having initially wanted to join the Force as a regular but instead chose to develop a career as an environmental health officer.
Now, as Special chief inspector, Arron is also public order trained, a first aid medic, a trauma risk management (TRM) practitioner and more recently has qualified as a drone pilot.
“Life as a Special has definitely changed over the years. Nowadays, Specials are integrated into the Force - we feel as much part of the Force as the regulars. I can’t remember the last time somebody said to me ‘you’re just a Special’, the barriers have been broken down,” said Arron, who admits that he likes to grab every opportunity offered to him with both hands.
“I’ve always been interested in the police and making a difference. I’m lucky as I can now be part of the Force, but work my hours around my day job and family. This has given me an opportunity to experience life in the Force but do it around my personal life.”
Arron says one of the best parts about being a Special is that he gets to work with so many different people, from all types of backgrounds and careers.
“I’ve met people from all different walks of life,” he continued.
“I work with doctors, dentists, global business managers and carers. I feel very lucky and humbled to know so many amazing people, who all still find the time to volunteer.”
In July this year, it was announced that Specials would be able to join the Police Federation, something that Arron feels very strongly about.
He said: “I think it’s really important that Specials join the Federation, as they provide us with a voice, support or guidance when we need it most.
“To know we are covered when and if we need them, that’s vital. Ultimately, we need to know we can rely on the Federation if we get investigated, rather than us feeling alone - after all, being investigated could have a huge impact on our lives, and impact our day job, not just our work as a Special.”
With a clear passion for supporting his colleagues, Arron says he is keen to help his team to be ‘the best they can be’.
“As Special chief inspector, I believe myself to be the voice of my peers,” he explained.
“And if I’m not giving them a voice, then I’m not doing my job properly. But I’m just one cog in a big machine.”
One challenge Arron says he feels they are facing is that they are not getting the number of applications they once used to.
“I know it’s a national issue - because people are able to join as regulars directly, along with the impact of Covid - we’re just not getting the numbers anymore,” he said.
“But I’m positive, as numbers are on the up, gradually and I’m hoping the future is more stable.
“I absolutely love being a Special, the experiences I’ve had in the Force will last a long time and I’ll be doing this role for as long as I can, until they get sick of me.
“If anyone is even slightly considering becoming a Special, then I would strongly urge them to go for it - what have you got to lose?”