West Midlands Police special constable celebrates 50 years of service

"Joining the Specials is a fantastic opportunity to develop a career and is a decision I never regretted and still enjoy today"

Mike Rogers has been a special constable for 50 years with West Midlands Police
Mike Rogers has been a special constable for 50 years with West Midlands Police

Chief Officer Michael Rogers from Tettenhall has been a member of the West Midlands Police Special Constabulary for 50 years, having decided to volunteer his time to the service as a 19-year-old trainee solicitor.

He said: "I had a good education, having gone to the Grammar School, and I just thought I'd like to put a bit back into the community.

"My wife June was a special constable and also volunteers at Compton Hospice and we both believe that if we want a better community, then one has to contribute towards it.

"I thought my own personal skills lay that way and that's what I chose to do."

Specials have the same powers as regular officers and wear the same uniform and volunteer at least 16 hours a month, but times are flexible.

Chief Officer Rogers began his service as a special constable on February 23, 1971 at Dunstall Road in Wolverhampton and balanced his working life as a private client solicitor with his time in the special constabulary.

He was also lucky to meet his wife June, who was a fellow Special at the time in Wolverhampton.

He said: "It was on one of my early duties when I first met her.

"We just clicked and then started to meet socially, but due to other commitments, June couldn’t carry on as a Special and finished in 1983.

"But it’s certainly helped having her support all these years, as she knew what the role was like and understood the emotional impact."

He spoke about how he managed the balance between the two and detailed his career progression.

Chief Officer Rogers poses at the beginning of his time in the Special Constabulary. He is pictured middle of the back row, with his wife June front row, first from the right

He said: "I managed to do it with very little sleep and with the support of June.

"I spent a good amount of my career at Dunstall Road as a constable, progressing up to a section officer, a Sargent and an inspector, before becoming a divisional commandant.

"I then became a divisional officer before getting the promotion to chief officer and moved to Lord House in Birmingham."

The 69-year-old said he had gone through a range of experiences throughout his time in the special constabulary, from helping an elderly lady who had fallen out of bed to dealing with a string of sudden deaths.

He said: "We helped her to get back into bed, made her a cup of tea and got her medical assistance, and she was just so grateful for what we were doing, which meant a lot.

"I've also protected other officers from getting a hiding at football matches, saving them from serious injury and whatever the situation, you’re in a position where you can try to help.

"The three deaths in a row was certainly a lowlight and can certainly test you, particularly with a young person who had committed suicide.

"The first one wasn't too bad, the second one was a little more intrusive and the third one, one thinks about what it's all about and there's that drip drip effect."

As he looks back over the last half-century, he said family and colleagues helped him get through the hard times and appreciate the good times.

He said: "I'm privileged to be able to lead the team I have helped develop and there are some amazing characters in the service who are pilots, doctors, nurses and HGV drivers.

"I get a buzz from having moved the special constables from a period of being not particularly effective to packing a punch and being able to move into all areas and adding value.

The 69-year-old says it's good to give back and do something in the community

"I've been fortunate to have some amazing chief constables such as Sir David Thompson, who is an inspiration and holds me to account on everything, which really makes me work."

Chief Officer Rogers said that the life of a special constable was a challenging one, but was immensely rewarding as well.

He said: "What a way to live a number of life experiences and how it gives a completely new complexion on culture and values.

"The police opens up opportunities in a persons life to gain new experiences and learn new things in the life and daytime jobs.

"We get health and safety training, for example, and we learn how to work with conflict situations.

"There are so many skills that can apply to the role you are occupying and, for me, it's been absolutely worth it as I have made some amazing friends and lived a good life."

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