A DEDICATED Dudley South police special constable has received a long-service medal recognising the thousands of hours he has given up for free to serve the community.

James Horton from Halesowen has worked for the specials for nine years, working around 30 hours a week for the Special Constabulary - all without pay.

The 31-year-old, who is a store greeter at Asda in Halesowen in his day job, received the Special Constabulary medal, a mark of appreciation for long service that is rewarded after nine years.

District Officer James, who worked around 2,000 hours last year alone, said: “You only get out of the specials what you put into it and I’m immensely proud to lead a team of such professional, dedicated volunteers.

"I have gained a wealth of experience and knowledge and have developed my own personal skills. I have met some fantastic people from all walks of life."

James, who is single, has risen through the ranks to head Dudley South Police Specials. He leads a team of 42 special constables on Halesowen operational command unit, who between them did more than 17,000 hours of unpaid work last year.

He said one of the moments of his career which stands out was when he was policing Birmimgham Pride last year and someone locked themselves into his handcuffs.

James said: "Someone put their wrist into my handcuffs and I had lost the key - it took me about 30 minutes to find someone who could unlock them!"

James' responsibilities include ensuring officers are trained, equipped and available for duty as well as providing performance management data to headquarters. He aims to become head of the specials in the West Midlands.

For more information on volunteering for West Midlands Police Special Constabulary, call the Specials Development Team on 0845 113 5000 ext 7800 2987.