Napier students join the front line as Special Constables

Five Edinburgh Napier students are ready to support Police Scotland in its COVID-19 response after becoming the first individuals to qualify in the country as Special Constables through a new on-campus training programme.

The students study within the University’s School of Applied Sciences and have been training as Special Constables since January, managing to complete 136 hours of training on top of their studies. The group will now be available to help Police Scotland with its COVID-19 response, alongside offering support during periods where officers may be self-isolating because of the virus.

The project to bring the Special Constable training in-house was led by Edinburgh Napier’s Dr Andrew Wooff, who worked with Police Scotland to adapt the training to allow it to be built into the students’ timetable. Dr Wooff, who is a lecturer in Criminology at the University, said:

“We are delighted that Edinburgh Napier could be the first to use this new on-campus training module so that our students could train to become Special Constables as they continue their studies at the University.

“Our main priority when devising the on-campus training was maintaining the high Police Scotland standard while supporting students to become Special Constables. The training is rigorous and will hopefully facilitate the successful candidates in pursuing a rewarding career with Police Scotland.”

Regular Special training requires three full weeks at the Scottish Police College at Tulliallan or every weekend for 12 weeks. The in-house training saw the students undertake their training every Wednesday at Napier’s Sighthill campus, allowing them all to continue their studies and work part-time as they trained.

PhD student Larissa Engelmann is one of the five students who qualified as a Special Constable and recently completed her first shifts. She said:

“I decided to become a Special Constable to explore other ways of giving back to the community as I’ve already been involved in a lot of different volunteering opportunities within Edinburgh and beyond.

“The training – even though it was over three months, rather than three weeks – was still very intense. We had to learn a lot of legislation too but nevertheless it was really enjoyable. We had really great police officers who helped us with the training – and we had a lot of fun as well.”