PROFILE: Hitchin rural police special Mark Russell

Special Constable Mark Russell

Special Constable Mark Russell - Credit: Archant

THE Comet is featuring an insight into Hertfordshire special constables to coincide with a new blog launch. Today, we speak to Hitchin Rural officer Mark Russell.

MARK Russell was one of the first people in the county to become a rural special constable.

The 46-year-old, who lives in Hitchin, says it is something he always wanted to do, with each shift bringing something different.

“I worked (one shift) where we had to deal with five bulls on the loose,” said the Hitchin-based special, who has been in the job since 2009.

“They were in the Anchor pub (in Hitchin), which had new turf laid – much more tasty than what they had next door.”

Special constable Russell’s job is about grabbing the bull by the horns figuratively as well as literally, and he cites flytipping, equine crime, stable thefts, shotgun licencing and hare coursing as some of the incidents he comes across.

But the Hitchin resident, who works at Letchworth GC-based Rocket Radio during the day, says it’s also about letting people know the police are there.

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“(We) show our presence, high visibility patrols. We go and talk to people, provide reassurance,” he said.

“The night time economy in towns means there’s a lot of police presence there in the evening, but rural areas can get forgotten, so we’re there.”

There are 23 rural specials in the county, most of whom have a rural background, although they can get drafted in elsewhere when needed.

“If there’s an incident and we are local and it’s urban area, we still go and help, we’ve just got added training on the rural side,” said special constable Russell.

You can follow the officer on Twitter @HertsRrlSpecial

Check back tomorrow for an interview with Letchworth special constable Becka Cornell.

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