Do Special Constables Get Free Travel?

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The question do special constables get free travel? Is one that crops up regular basis. It’s understandable why you would want free travel, after all, you’re giving up your time for free. Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer to this as it differs force by force and over time. The ability to offer free travel is in the hands of the transport providers in each of the respective forces and not the force itself.

If you are interested in becoming a special constable, there are a number of questions that you are likely asking, and it is normal to do so. One of the big ones is whether special constables get free travel. It’s understandable, as very few people want to give up their time for free and then be out of pocket as they have had to use public transport or drive into the location they volunteer from.

So in this article, we will take you through free travel on public transport and free travel in terms of getting your mileage paid back. Also, we’ll look at the implication of this for you.

Do Special Constables Get Free Travel?

In order to try and answer this question for you, we have reached out to colleagues up and down the country to try and get a definitive answer.

Unfortunately, it does not look like special constables regularly get free travel (off duty) across the majority of the forces. 

The exception to this appears to be Greater Manchester Police and The Metropolitan Police. Both of these focus offer free travel to special constables when on and off duty 

Free Travel For Special Constables: Metropolitan Police (MET)

All Metropolitan Special Constables are entitled to free travel on London’s Tube, Buses, DLR, Tramlink, Emirates Airline Cablecar, TfL operated River Bus services, and TfL-operated London Overground services. [1]

For Special constables operating in the MET, free travel is available on and off duty, meaning that you could save a fortune on your ‘normal’ commuting. 

There is a minimum number of qualifying hours in order to receive free travel.

For more on abbreviations check out our article: Police Abbreviations UK: The ULTIMATE Police Jargon Buster!

Free Travel For Special Constables: Greater Manchester Police (GMP)

Special constables working for GMP get free travel with some transport providers, they just have to show their warrant card. 

Free Travel For Special Constables: British Transport Police BTP

Specials working with the British Transport Police (BTP) get free travel on National Rail services, on and off duty. [2]

The agreement for free travel for special constables is normally arranged by the force with the local transport providers. These agreements can be altered or withdrawn at any time. If getting free travel is a factor in you applying to be a special constable, please check with your force before applying

Do I Get My Mileage Paid As a Special Constable?

Most forces / transport providers in the force do not offer free travel off duty. However, after reaching out to a lot of forces, the vast majority have come back to state that at the time of writing, they will offer mileage to and from the location from which you are volunteering. 

Policies such as these are constantly under review and clarification should be sought.

Do Special Constables Get Free Travel ON DUTY?

Most forces will have an agreement with local transport providers that when on duty and in full uniform, you will be able to use the local public transport for free

For some forces, this is the policy for plainclothes officers ON DUTY, but you will have to show your warrant card. 

WARNING: Do not try and use your warrant card for free travel off duty, stating or even implying that you are on duty.

If you do so this would be an honest and integrity issue that may lead you to lose your role. This would also be on your record should you apply for a police staff role or want to join the police as an officer. 

What Are The Implications of Using Free Travel As A Special Constable?

When Special constables get free travel and you chose to use it, you are then identifying yourself as a police officer. 

Although you always have a duty of care as a warranted officer, you will find that people will approach you will ‘issues’ if they are aware that you are an officer.

What this means is that you may end up putting yourself in a position where you have to deal with something. You have to consider whether you are confident enough, to put yourself in this position as a special constable. 

Obviously, if anything happened in front of you, you will still have an obligation to assist (after risk assessing the situation).

If after all of this, you are still interested in becoming a special constable, check out our guide, Is It Hard To Become A Special Constable?

If you decide that being a special is not for you, why not look into becoming a police support volunteer or police staff, there are loads of amazing roles out there waiting for you.

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