Specials Could Be Key To Policing During Coronavirus

IT IS “sensible” that Special Constables should be able to support the police service during the coronavirus outbreak, Hampshire Police Federation has said.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has called on employers to consider providing paid leave to Special Constables so they can help the police at a time when they will need extra resources.

There are more than 350 Special Constables in Hampshire, who volunteer as warranted officers with all the powers of a police officer.

Hampshire Police Federation Vice-Chair Zoë Wakefield said: “We’re expecting our sickness levels and self-isolation levels to rise, so we will need to start moving officers around. Whether it will get to the point where we need to draft in Special Constables or not, we don’t know.

“If we do get to that point, then yes, I do think it is a good idea for their employers to pay them. Especially if they’re going to be coming in and doing a lot more hours than they normally do.”

Hampshire has a higher rate of recorded coronavirus infections than nearly every other county in the UK. Zoë said it was some comfort that Special Constables would be able to help out if needed, as “they’re people who know the area, who work with us regularly”.

Zoë added that other forces were struggling with numbers and had put CID officers back into uniform to help on the frontline. She said: “If other forces are already struggling, using Special Constables seems a sensible option.”

Employers that are part of the national Employer Supported Policing Scheme (ESP) provide Special Constable employees with additional paid leave to allow them to do police work. Employers who aren’t part of this scheme are being asked to join so that the police can get extra support at this time of need.

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