Becoming a special constable is the most rewarding thing Ayman Al-Aride has ever done and now he is hoping to use his experience to inspire others to do the same.
The father-of-three joined Suffolk Police as a ‘special’ 18 months ago because he wanted ‘something different’, something he could not get from his day-to-day work.
“Anyone who works in public service, fire, ambulance, police, maybe even teaching, will understand,” he said. “The specials, it takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes you in a way you’re perhaps not used to.”
As a ‘people person’ and someone who had always taken an active role in his community, Mr Al-Aride was an ideal candidate for the role.
“It was an opportunity to go and help the community where I live instead of sitting around moaning about things, and about wanting to make a difference,” he said.
From attending road traffic accidents and domestic situations to helping out at football matches and other events, he has done it all.
And even the less glamorous side of the job, such as seeing dead bodies, has the benefit of ‘opening your eyes and making you realise how important things are’.
“It’s very rewarding, I’ve done quite a few things in my time but I think it’s the most rewarding – you come home with a sense of ‘wow, that’s something else’,” he said.
Based in Stowmarket, but having also covered Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Elmswell, Mr Al-Aride works up to two shifts a week, volunteering around 40 hours a month.
This is on top of running an IT company with his wife, Tina, and managing a team of eight employees.
The 42-year-old said being a special had allowed him to ‘go back to being support staff’, which he enjoys, and to use the skills he has developed throughout his working life, like how to talk to young people which he learned while working an IT network manager at schools like Bacton Middle and Stowupland High School, when he also helped run football teams.
As part of a special recruitment campaign, Suffolk Police has put videos of serving specials online. To view them, or for details of upcoming recruitment evenings, visit click here.
Al-Aride said: “My message is, even if you’re not thinking of doing it, come along to one of the open evenings and see what it is we do, what it is you could do and think ‘is it for me’?”
Who are specials and can I be one?
Special Constables are volunteer officers who give their time to assist the regular police force in keeping communities safe.
If you are 18 years or older, in good health and of good character, you can apply.
Full training is given so that you can become part of a team that deals with a variety of incidents and events across Suffolk.
If interested email email@example.com or call 01473 613589.