Special Constables and their duties

Hertfordshire Mercury, 3rd July 1915


It is reported that some of the Special Constables are beginning to kick over the traces a little, and are complaining that they did not join to do military drill and route marching.  The latest cause of grievance amongst the Hertford ‘Specials’ is the following order for compulsory drills which has been issued by the section leader.  ‘To all members of the Hertford Borough Section of Special Constables:  The following general order has been issued by the Chief Staff Officer:  It is to be clearly understood that, apart from any other drills Special Constables may attend, they are to parade once a month with their own sub-sections for drill purposes.  Absence from these parades, unless caused by illness or some urgent and unavoidable reason, will be treated as neglect of duty, and reported to headquarters to be dealt with.’  Pursuant to the above order compulsory drills have been appointed to take place on Hartham on July 12, August 9, and September 6, and a route march has also been arranged for October 4.

The feeling among the corps is that they are more in need of instruction in proper police duty, such as knowing how to act when called upon in an emergency than in military drills.  At present there is really nothing for the Specials to do in a quiet place like Hertford, and it seems ridiculous to have the men tramping about the place all night when everybody is asleep.  The case may be instanced of a man, well advanced in years, and none too good on his ‘pins’, who one day last week worked from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m., and then had to go on duty as a Special Constable from 1 to 5 a.m., and all he saw during those four hours was a couple of cats !  Add to this self-imposed penance the prospect of compulsory drills and route marches, and it is hardly surprising to find some of the men asking themselves if the game is worth the candle.

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