HAMPSHIRE Police Federation will be welcoming the Special Constabulary into the fold as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill moves through Parliament.
Special Constables have been around for more than 200 years, but they have never been represented fully and have had very little legal protection despite facing the same threats as regular officers. This is all set to change thanks to the Bill, which is currently in the Committee Stage at the House of Lords.
Zoë Wakefield, Hampshire Police Federation Chair, said: “It is great news that we will be able to support them; I think it should have happened a long, long time ago.
“We will already support Specials so if they go to an incident with regular colleagues and a complaint is made, we won’t ditch the Special, we will support them as well through an investigation. But it’s great that we will be able to offer them all the welfare support which we can’t offer them at the moment, that their regular colleagues get. I think we’ve got about 200 Specials in Hampshire so we will have 200 extra members. I think it’s positive all round really.”
Special Constables come from a variety of backgrounds, and work for free usually on top of their day job.
Zoë said: “You do get people that are Specials when they’re a college student with a view to becoming a regular later. But you’ve got other people that just do it because they really enjoy it. I worked with someone who had been a Special for about 25 years and he just came in every Friday evening and went out on patrol and dealt with all the antisocial behaviour type issues and he pretty much did that every Friday on a late shift after working his week, Monday to Friday.
“He enjoyed it and he felt like he was giving something back. You get a mix of why people want to do it and there’s a whole mix of age ranges and experience as well within the Specials. From our perspective, it’ll be really good to have them on board.”