‘Being a special is so rewarding’
An IT manager is the new face of a campaign to get more people to volunteer their time by becoming a Suffolk Police ‘special’
Ayman Al-Aride says becoming a special is the most rewarding this he has ever done and now hopes to use his experience to inspire others to do the same.
The father-of-three joined Suffolk Police 18 months ago because he wanted ‘something different’, something he could not get from his day-to-day work.
“Anyone who works in public service, fire, ambulance, police, maybe even teaching, will understand,” he said. “It takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes you in a way you’re perhaps not used to.”
As a ‘people person’ and someone who had always taken an active role in his community, Mr Al-Aride was an ideal candidate for the role.
“It was an opportunity to go and help the community where I live instead of sitting around moaning about things, and about wanting to make a difference,” he said.
From attending road traffic accidents and domestic situations to helping out at football matches and other events, he has done it all. And even the less glamorous side of the job, such as seeing dead bodies, has the benefit of ‘opening your eyes and making you realise how important things are’.
“It’s very rewarding, I’ve done quite a few things in my time but I think it’s the most rewarding – you come home with a sense of ‘wow, that’s something else’,” he said.
Mr Al-Aride works up to two shifts a week, volunteering around 40 hours a month. This is on top of running an IT company with his wife, Tina, and managing a team of eight employees.
The 42-year-old said: “My message is, even if you’re not thinking of doing it, come along to one of the open evenings and see what it is we do, what it is you could do and think ‘is it for me’?”