Perspectives on the emotional labour of Special Constables

Laura Knight, Iain Britton

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the emotional labour of Special Constables, who are volunteers in the role of part-time police officers. Drawing on two national surveys of Special Constables as well as upon interviews of Special Constables within five police forces, the chapter reflects that increasingly much of the operational context and nature of their volunteering closely mirrors that of paid ‘regular’ police officers. This presents a context for emotional labour, further increased by a growing number of Specials in challenging specialist settings such as roads policing and public protection. The chapter also identifies challenges presented by the cultural positioning, identity and status of Special Constables, creating requirements to undertake emotional labour, which in turn carries significant potential consequences for the volunteers themselves.

The chapter concludes that to combat the potential impact of these different types of emotional labour, the experience of Specials needs to be much better understood and support needs to be tailored to the specific experience of volunteer officers. This support also needs to be better, and more consistently, organised, resourced and delivered. Alongside this, long-recognised challenges in respect of status, integration and role, cultural challenges and ambiguities of professional identity need to be recognised and tackled.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmotional Labour in Criminal Justice and Criminology
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Pages221 - 235
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780367152017
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2020


  • Emotional labour
  • Special Constables
  • Policing


Dive into the research topics of 'Perspectives on the emotional labour of Special Constables'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this