EIGHTEEN new volunteer police officers have been sworn in to protect Essex, including five for Southend, Castle Point and Rochford.

The Special Constables swore an oath at an attestation ceremony on Monday night in front of family and friends.

The volunteer officers were welcomed by Assistant Chief Constable Paul Wells, Justice of the Peace Dawn Roche and Deputy Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Jane Gardner at Essex Police headquarters today, Monday 12 August.

Essex Police's newest Special Constables have a variety of jobs including a lifeguard, medical student, school caretaker, sales assistant, banker and grocery assistant.

Four will be posted in Chelmsford, three in Southend and Harlow, two in Braintree and Castle Point and Rochford and one in Harwich, Clacton, Colchester and Grays.

In a speech on the night, Supt Cat Barrie, lead for the Special Constabulary, said: "Tonight was amazing and I must thank everyone one of them for giving up their free time to serve Essex.

"They all put the special in Special Constable and they really are a fantastic bunch of people.

"I’m so proud they have joined the second largest and fastest growing Special Constabulary in the country.”

Ebrahim Zamani arrived in the UK in 2000 and works as a delivery driver for Domino’s in Westcliff.

He said: “I was extremely nervous ahead of tonight but now I’m so proud to be a Special Constable for Essex Police. It’s been a life-changing decision, my biggest achievement.”

Special Constables have the same powers as regular officers but volunteer their time for free to help keep our communities safe.

They do not get paid but have their expenses reimbursed. They will learn new skills, see new things and make tangible differences to the communities they serve.

Also watching on the night were proud parents Jennie and Saul Hunnaball in support of their daughter, Emilia who works a lifeguard.

They said: "We couldn’t be any more proud and we will go out and celebrate with a meal.

"It was really moving watching her as she read her oath in front of everyone."

For more information about becoming a Special Constable, visit www.essex.police.uk/Specials.