The war meant that a large number of regular officers and reservists had either joined or been recalled to the armed forces. This created a vacuum which could only be filled by the creation of Special Constables.
Men who were above the military age or not of the required medical and physical fitness were able to make a contribution to the war effort by joining the Special Constabulary.
Men from all walks of life took the King's oath and then performed various duties without any form of payment.
Although there had previously been Special Constables, they had normally been enrolled for a limited period and purpose and it was not until 28th August 1914 that an Act of Parliament established rules and regulations for the formation of this new volunteer force. An Order-in-Council passed on 9th September 1914 gave Special Constables the same duties, powers and privileges as a regular Constable.
Many of their new duties were of a semi-military nature in guarding the essentials of national life such as gas, water and electricity supplies.
The Special Constabulary was itself hit by changing recruiting regulations but as contemporary documents reveal more men were lost to the armed services than through any other form of wastage.