Pontypool’s Gareth Owen has spent over thirteen years working as a gas engineer, but in the last nine months he has been supporting frontline policing as Gwent Police work to protect local people during the pandemic.

Not content with one key worker role, Gareth, 33, has been combining his usual job: responding to gas emergencies across the Gwent valleys, with another as a volunteer special constable.

As a special constable, Gareth has the same powers as a regular officer and volunteers at least 16 hours of his time per month to support people living in rural parts of Gwent.

I first looked into volunteering with the police as a way of joining the force, but this was around the same time that I was starting my career with Wales & West Utilities. After a few years I realised there was a way of combining the two and I have been working as a special constable ever since.”

As part of the rural policing team, we work on anything from illegal poaching to diesel theft and anything in between. I’m from a rural background myself, so understand the issues many people across Gwent are facing. I enjoy doing what I can to protect the public and get a great sense of wellbeing from giving something back to the community: and my two roles are similar in that respect.

I thoroughly enjoy being a special constable and Wales & West Utilities is a supportive employer. During the pandemic, the company has allowed each colleague to volunteer up to two days of their time to help support other organisations, which was fantastic.

I get a great sense of satisfaction from being a special and am proud to help Gwent Police as it works to protect local people throughout this difficult time.

Gareth Owen, Wales & West Utilities

All of our officers, like Gareth, combine their day-to-day job with the incredibly important role as a volunteer with Gwent Police’s special constabulary.

Their dedication to the force throughout this health crisis has been exemplarily. They’ve assisted in providing protection and reassurance to our communities at a tremendously tough time for the public.

The special constabulary forms a vital part of the police service. Even outside of the global pandemic, their commitment and enthusiasm to Gwent Police is amazing and I am immensely proud of their contribution.

Esther McLaughlin, Gwent Police’s chief inspector for the special constabulary

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we'll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We'll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.