My grandfather was a special constable in 1926, and saved two letters he received while doing this. Here is the first.
Birmingham City Police
15th May 1926
Orders to Special Constables
The Chief Constable desires to thank all members of the old Corps of Special Constables who have given regular service during the recent strike. He also wishes to thank the new Special Constables who joined for service during the period of the emergency, and who have given regular service of at least four hours per day.
The emergency has not been declared over by the Government, and until a Declaration is made the Chief Constable is not in a position to release all the Special Constabulary from service; but as the duties of the Police are now relaxed, Superintendents will arrange with members of the Special Constabulary to relieve them from actual duty as far as possible.
The Chief Constable greatly appreciates the services of these gentlemen have rendered, and is desirous of retaining their services as members of a permanent Special Constabulary Reserve, who would guarantee in similar emergencies to perform at least four hours’ duty per day.
The reason is this- whilst greatly appreciating the services of these gentlemen, the Chief Constable wishes to point out that they offered their services when the emergency was upon us, and when all our energies should have been devoted to dealing with that emergency. Instead of that, we had to hurriedly enroll a large number of gentlemen into Special Constabulary Reserve, causing a great deal of confusion.
When an emergency of this kind has to be dealt with, all our resources and energies should be applied to the object, and that is not the time to commence to enroll the Special Constabulary Reserve. We should have had that done and arranged beforehand, i.e. to have had the gentlemen, who have now given us their services, already enrolled as Special Constables.
If these gentlemen will allow their names to be retained on the list of Special Constabulary Reserve, and are willing to be called out immediately for service on a similar future occasion, all the confusion and delay which has been encountered on this occasion will be avoided.
Those who are conversant with the administration of a Police Division must appreciate that it is very confusing for a Superintendent not to know the number of men that he can rely upon. This is impossible if they are dropping in from day to day during the disturbance. Time is wasted telling them off and arranging their duties which might otherwise be avoided.
The duties of the Special Constabulary Reserve will be reduced so that the services of these gentlemen will not be asked for more than the second or third day, and at the earliest possible moment the Chief Constable will relieve them of their present permanent duties, but this will depend upon the re-employment of the Railway servants, which may not be complete until Wednesday.
Meanwhile the Chief Constable asks these gentlemen to consider remaining permanently on the list of the reserve of Special Constables.