19 January 2023
“I still get such a buzz during every shift,” says Special Sergeant Rob Jones, who admits volunteering with the Force from the age of 20 has ‘definitely changed me as a person’.
With an ambition to become a police officer, Rob, now 26, joined Derbyshire Constabulary as a Special in February 2016, by way of gaining experience in the role.
Almost seven years later and Rob, having decided to take a paid position at Rolls Royce after completing an apprenticeship with the aerospace manufacturer, says he ‘gets the best bits of the job’ as a volunteer.
“For me, this is the perfect balance. I get to give back to the community and come away knowing that I’ve hopefully made people’s lives better. And that’s what I’m passionate about, that’s what keeps me motivated,” says Rob, who was promoted to sergeant around 18 months into the role.
“Almost seven years on, and I still get a buzz from every shift, and I still really enjoy it. Of course, like with everything in life, whatever you put into the role, you’ll get out of it.”
A highlight for Rob was late last year when he attended a house following reports of domestic abuse.
Rob, who says he was able to help the victim, explained: “As we left the house, the victim said to me ‘you’ve given me the opportunity to live my life again’. She said we’d given her the strength to finally leave the relationship and look towards a better future.
“It’s times like this, that on reflection, show just how rewarding the role is.”
Special Sergeant Rob Jones
Rob says the position has ‘absolutely changed’ him as a person, and has given him skills and confidence, that he has taken into his paid role at work.
He added: “Being a Special opens you up to a world that many others do not know exists. I think having the responsibility that comes with being a Special has definitely made me grow up quicker.
“I’ve met so many people and formed some really strong friendships. And some of those are from such a variety of backgrounds, including the likes of doctors and dentists - all walks of life.
“And as a sergeant, I now look after a team of Specials as well. For me, that comes with its own set of challenges - managing people who are not being paid to undertake the role, so constantly trying to find new ways to drive them. I’m always looking for ways to maintain their passion.”
Since he started volunteering, Rob says he has noticed a shift in the attitude towards Specials.
“In my opinion, there’s barely a divide anymore. There’s no longer ‘them and us’ when it comes to Specials and regular officers,” continued Rob, whose comments come after it was announced last year that Specials would be allowed to join the Police Federation as members.
“Becoming part of the Police Federation is just narrowing the gap between volunteers and regulars even more. There’s so much we can get involved with now.
“Of course, being part of the Police Federation is a great step. Just because we’re volunteers, doesn’t mean the role comes without risk, so knowing the support - especially any legal support we might ever need - is there, is definitely peace of mind.”