Inspectors of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are generally appointed as special constables, and a requirement of employment as a Transit Officer is eligibility to be appointed as a special constable.
Members of police bands are also appointed as special constables.
State police stationed near their state borders are sometimes assigned the status of special constable in the neighbouring state to allow hot pursuit of offenders across state borders and lawful arrest on the other side.
Today, in Canada the term Special Constable does not signify a police volunteer. Instead, they are sworn-in and employed by law enforcement agencies or the provincial ministry responsible for law enforcement to undertake specific duties many of which require the powers of a police officer, such as University, Housing, and Transit Constables. Others such as court officers have some police authority but are primarily used to transport prisoners and provide court security. Their power is usually geographically limited to within the city or the province and is can restricted to certain federal/provincial legislation based on the needs of their appointment. As an example, a Court Officer generally would have no need to enforce the Highway Traffic Act where a University Constable would enforce it frequently. Usually Special Constables are not armed with firearms, the exception being police services and Niagara Parks Police. At times, provinces may need to swear in a visiting police service to allow peace officer status. This is frequent with RCMP in Ontario as well as Quebec Provincial Police in Ontario. Cross juridictional issues can be alleviated with special constable appointments. The government may also appoint special constables, who only need the authority to serve summons and subpeonas etc. These are usually investigators from government agencies, for example the Competition Bureau and Canada Food Inspection Agency. It is important to note that the Special Constable appointment, is not a replacement for a police officer. The appointment confers limited authority and the jurisdictional police will still have over all law enforcement authority and responsibility regardless of the special constable. For example, on a University Campus or a Transit System, special constables may deal with crimes, however the local police will have the over all responsibility for the criminal code enforcement.
Volunteers with provincial and municipal police departments in Canada are called Reserve or Auxiliary Constables.
Examples of Special Constables in Canada:
However, under section 41(3) of the same ordinance, special constables are not entitled to benefits, pays or pensions.
There have been examples in history of paid special constables who were not volunteer police officers. The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Constabulary were sworn in as special constables under the Special Constables Act 1923. However, the passage of the Energy Act 2004 created a new police force - the Civil Nuclear Constabulary - with specifically defined powers and the officers lost their status as special constables. The Yeomen Warders of the Tower of London were first sworn in as special constables in the 1960s, but this stopped in 1991. There are still a few special constables - port police are sworn in under Section 79 of the Harbours, Docks, and Piers Clauses Act 1847 and the Epping Forest Keepers are also sworn in as Special Constables for both the Metropolitan and Essex police districts under the Epping Forest Act 1878.
English special constables have manifested as various legal entities since 1673, but the modern-day Special Constabulary traces its roots to the 1831 “Act for amending the laws relative to the appointment of special constables, and for the better preservation of the Police,” which was passed as a response to industrial violence. The role of special constables was redefined into its present incarnation during the First World War when a large force was recruited to both compensate for the loss of regular members who joined the war effort and to add an extra layer of protection during war time. Special constables were also an important component of the state’s response to the British police strikes in 1918 and 1919 and the UK General Strike of 1926.
Special constables are awarded the Queen's Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct on the completion of nine years service with a minimum of fifty tours of duty each year. A bar is added to the medal for each subsequent ten years of service.
Special constables are generally unpaid, but may receive reimbursement for mileage and other expenses incurred. However, some forces have implemented a bounty or allowance in order to attract and retain Special Constables. Some specials may hold a post within their chosen force as police staff, such as working overtime in the police control room, station office, or computer aided departments.
The mechanism to pay Special Constables has been in existence for some time. In the future, there are moves towards nationalising the Special Constabulary into a fully fledged Police Reserve.
In Northern Ireland the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC (RUC) employed both full time and part time Reserve Constables, the difference being that in addition to carrying out the same duties as the regular force, a number of Full Time Reserve officers were deployed to carry out static security duty at the homes of VIP's and at vulnerable buildings and police stations, Part time Reserve Constables carried out similar duties to their Special Constabulary counterparts elsewhere in the UK however like the Full Time Reserve many part timers also carried out a more security based role.
With the assimiliation of the RUC into the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI),171 Part time Constables were appointed in Banbridge, Newtownabbey, Coleraine and Lisburn District Command Units (DCUs). Existing part-time Reserve Constables were offered training to meet new standards of the PSNI
Unlike their counterparts in Great Britain, Part time Constables, like their predecessors in the RUC and PSNI Reserve, are paid.
The Ulster Special Constabulary (see Ireland below) continued to exist until 1970, when its members were assimilated into the RUC as Auxiliary Constables or the Ulster Defence Regiment.
The Ministry of Defence employs Civilian Security Officers for its Northern Ireland Guard Service, these have Special Constable Status.The NIGS is a unionised, non-industrial civilian Armed Guard Service under the authority of the General Officer Commanding (Northern Ireland) who holds ultimate responsibility for the operation of the organisation. A Civilian Security Officer (CSO) is attested by a resident magistrate as a Special Constable whilst on duty within MOD property. They hold similar powers to that of a Police Constable based on the Emergency Laws (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1947. A CSO has the powers of arrest under the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 (PACE).
Special Constables receive some travel expenses and allowances from the police service, plus a £1000 "recognition award" for all officers completing the required 180 hours of service every year. Their work is otherwise voluntary and unpaid.
Most Scottish Special Constables work alongside regular police officers, and their uniform is identical other than a distinct letter/number series on the officer's shoulder number. Administration and management of Special Constables is generally carried out by regular supervisors. Special Constables do not have a separate administrative/rank/grade structure.
Special Constables in Scotland can and are deployed to a wide range of police duties over and above standard "beat duties". These include Roads Policing, Public Order, Specialist Response, Wildlife Crime and Community Support. Their primary focus, however remains to provide a highly visible police presence, and a link with local communities across Scotland.