Chief officer who helped ‘transform’ Special Constabulary appointed OBE

An officer who helped transform Kent Police’s Special Constabulary has been appointed OBE in The King’s first Birthday Honours List.

Jun 19, 2023
By Paul Jacques
Gavin McKinnon

Chief Officer Gavin McKinnon said he was “shocked and deeply honoured” when he received the news.

Mr McKinnon, who was appointed chief officer of Kent Special Constabulary in March 2013, has overseen many national firsts, including Special Constables fully qualifying as accredited detectives, police driving and public order instructors, and Special Branch examiners under the Terrorism Act.

He said: “In 2014 we became the first Special Constabulary in the UK to receive the highest national honour for volunteering, The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is a collective MBE.

“That recognition was for our ‘innovative, community focused, volunteer policing’. We have continued to deliver exactly that, so I view this OBE as a higher collective award for the exceptional team of Specials I have the privilege to lead.

“Policing is a team effort, not an individual one and I am blessed with the support of some of the most decent, honourable, and committed people you could ever hope to meet. In Kent volunteer does not mean amateur.”

Since 2015, Specials in the county have been trained to the same standard and with the same qualifications as regular police officers with the help of an innovative online learning platform built by the Kent Special Constabulary called KSC Online. This allows the volunteers to transfer seamlessly into full-time policing should they choose to.

Deputy Chief Constable Peter Ayling said: “I’ve had the benefit of working with many brilliant, dedicated Specials – 15 years ago they were willing amateurs who added to our numbers and did important work. Today, Kent Special Constabulary is made up of expert women and men carrying out highly specialist, critical functions to a very high standard.

“Their contribution to Kent Police and our communities is truly exemplary and unmatched.

“The transition here has been staggering and is testimony to the vision and leadership of Chief Officer McKinnon. His passion to professionalise the Special Constabulary extends beyond Kent, working tirelessly as a champion.

“I’m delighted he has been recognised with such a prestigious honour, an achievement that he, the force, and his family can be very proud of.”

Matthew Scott, Kent’s police and crime commissioner said: “Kent Police derives so much benefit from our Special Constabulary and that is a direct consequence of Gavin’s efforts to boost the training and development available to them and ensure they have opportunities to work in all parts of the organisation.

“There is no doubt his inspirational leadership has made Kent’s the best Special Constabulary in the country.”

Mr McKinnon was previously awarded a prestigious Churchill Fellowship to review volunteer policing in North America and has authored more than 30 books on law, as well as national guidance and doctrine. He previously served in the Army and the police in Northern Ireland.

Chair of the Kent Police Federation Neil Mennie said: “The Special Constabulary are a vital member of the policing family here and are driven by the contagious enthusiasm of Mr McKinnon.

“Just recently we have been able to welcome Special Constables as subscribing Federation members, something he strongly supported.

“Our congratulations on receiving this honour.”

Unison branch secretary Ian Pointon added: “I have known Mr McKinnon for many years and witnessed his vision for and dedication to the Special Constabulary in Kent.

“He has shown that it is not the numbers that matter, but how you train, deploy, recognise and consequently retain Special Constables.

“I wholeheartedly congratulate him on his much-deserved award of an OBE.”

Related News

Select Vacancies

Chief of Police

Gibraltar Defence Police

Assistant Chief Constables

Scottish Police Authority

Constables on Promotion to Sergeant

Greater Manchester Police

Copyright © 2024 Police Professional