SENIOR police officers have thanked the volunteers who have given up their time to help police the easing of lockdown across Dorset.

More than 40 Special Constables worked 300 hours between them as restaurants and pubs reopened over the weekend of July 4 and 5.

This brings the total hours worked by Dorset’s 126 Special Constables to more than 10,000 since lockdown began in March.

Deputy Chief Officer Andy Turtle paid tribute to the officers’ “resilience and professionalism” during the pandemic as they sacrificed leisure time to keep the public safe.

He said: “I want to pass on my thanks to each Special Constable who gave up their weekend with their own families and friends to help ensure the safety of local communities and visitors to Dorset.

“Reopening of the tourism and hospitality industry combined with an influx of visitors, meant their support to our teams was invaluable.”

Dorset’s Specials have been out in force across the community during lockdown, giving support to regular officers and playing their part in making communities safe and secure.

Between the start of lockdown on March 23 and the end of June this year, Dorset specials worked 10,020 hours – an increase of 42 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

Recent force figures showed that over one weekend they completed more than 40 duties, assisting with arrests, safeguarding, search warrants, licensing, missing persons and anti-social behaviour.

Deputy Chief Officer Turtle added: “With anticipated increased demand on our services this summer, we really do appreciate the number of Special Constables who have volunteered to work during July and August.

“I would also like to thank the employers, whose flexibility and understanding helps make this important contribution possible.”