A more flexible police workforce would help the service deal with new and changing crime types, but powers need to be teamed with appropriate accountability says the President Elect of the PSAEW.
The comments follow the Home Office’s publication on 20/1/2016 of its response to the consultation on extending police powers for volunteers, as part of its programme of police reform.
The Association’s President Elect, Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas said:
“Volunteers have played an important role in policing for more than 175 years since the formation of the Special Constabulary. More recently, volunteers have supported the police in a number of civilian roles as well and the police service is all the better for these roles.
“However, as I am sure many of the public will be, I am uncomfortable at the suggestion that volunteers could be given designated powers which can be exercised over their fellow citizens such as the power of arrest, without clear lines of accountability.
“Crime types are changing and I support the idea that the police can draw on the specialist skills of volunteers, such as cyber, IT and financial expertise so that crimes can be more effectively investigated or prevented and victims provided a better service.
“I believe a more flexible workforce would further improve the police and the service we give the public. Extending the role and powers of the Special Constabulary and integrating it further within the service would provide this opportunity and further enhance its appeal to people who want to volunteer with the police.
“We would be pleased to work with the Home Office and the Special Constabulary to develop this further.”
The Home Office consultation documents and response can be found here.