Photo of uniformed police officer facing the camera stood outsideFrom cyber security to tackling drink and drug drivers. No one day is ever the same for Special Constable Adam Pickering, who gives up his spare time to follow in his mum’s footsteps.

By day, Adam works for CGI – an IT and business consulting services firm. But when he’s back in the north, Adam is one of our dedicated Motor Patrols Specials who helps tackle criminality across Northumbria’s road network.

Whether it’s supporting the Force’s crackdown on illegal number plates linked to organised crime, prosecuting drink or drug drivers or monitoring speeding hotspots, he and his colleagues continue to make a huge difference.

But for Adam, pulling on the uniform is much more personal than for most. He said: “Volunteering has always been a passion of mine, it’s always been community-based volunteering, something where there’s a clear output where you can see you’ve made an impact.

“As well as being a special constable, I also help with the lifeboats in Blyth, so volunteering is something that I am deeply passionate about. I’d say volunteering is the most rewarding thing you can do because obviously you’re not getting paid for it – you’re doing it from passion. I’ve been a special since April 2021 and it’s probably given me the most satisfaction of any role I’ve done.

“I come from a family of cops – my step father was a detective, my mother was a detective, my great-grand father was a high-ranking officer in what used to be Tyneside Police. I always wanted to become a police officer, but I already had an established career when my life settled down and I didn’t want to quit that. But I spoke to an officer from the Blyth Neighbourhood Team, and he asked, ‘why don’t you become a special?’”

Adam continued: “I’ve never looked back really; I absolutely love the role. I’m the only Special in Northumbria whose collar number begins in a 9. Every other Special has a collar number beginning in 4, 5 or 6.

SC Adam Pickering in a suit

“The reason for that is that my mam Patricia’s collar number with the Force was 8185. That was already in use, but 9185 was available and I was allowed to take it. It’s amazing really, as I’m the next generation and pull on more or less the same collar number that my mum did all those years ago.”

Now fully trained as a Motor Patrols Special, Adam is able to head out on patrol in marked cars and play a significant role alongside our front-line officers in keeping the North East roads safe.

But with an already-demanding full-time job, plus his other volunteering roles, how does he fit everything in?

“People often ask why I do it, but ultimately when I’m doing this role, I genuinely feel like the best version of me,” Adam said.

“I feel like I’m making a difference – making a real change in somebody’s life by stopping a car, having a conversation with the driver about their behaviour on the road, and trying to change that for the positive. The main thing you need to have to be a good special is community spirit. You need to want to make the world around you a better place – and this role is a tangible way of doing that.

“As a special, we all bring a rich diversity in terms of our external roles. I work in cyber by day – but I leave that at the door, and this lets me do something completely different, because change is as good as a rest. That’s not to say I’d never want to get involved in cyber stuff one day – but it’s just a fantastic and rewarding way to add something a bit different to your day-to-day routine.”

Are you ready to do something different after your 9-5 and become a Special Constable like, Adam? Find out more about our volunteering opportunities on our careers website.