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Special Constables – Major recruitment drive in force

Police UniformWest Yorkshire Police has publicly announced its major recruitment drive to increase the number of Special Constables serving the county to 1,500 by May 2016.

The plan will involve recruiting more than 1,000 Specials – and a series of recruitment events took place across West Yorkshire last week and weekend.

A new section of the West Yorkshire Police website has also been launched which includes videos of our Specials in action, a ‘myth buster’ to dispel some of the common misconceptions associated with the role, as well as an online application form.

West Yorkshire Police currently has 420 Special Constables who each volunteer a minimum of 16 hours of their time each month. Special Constables have the same powers and responsibility as full-time police officers but do not receive a salary.

Any expenses incurred carrying out the role are covered so any volunteers are not left out of pocket.

Previously Nick Smart, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, has said the proposals were a “massive ask” and said the Fed “remain to be convinced that it is feasible.”

Mr Smart said: “Who is going to do the training? Who is going to look after them? They have to be monitored and managed at a time when everyone is being asked to do more.

“If you have one or two Specials on teams – we have the capability to guide, support and manage them. If they are only doing 6 hours a week – that isn’t much time. They need managing. If we have got ten of them on a team – it seems like a bit of a free-for-all.

“There are some fantastic Specials out there who do a great job, but bringing in 1,000 over two years is ambitious. We remain to be convinced that it is feasible.”

Mark Burns-Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire, said: “Special Constables have a vital role to play within policing and it is essential we continue recruiting valuable members of the community who go on to develop into outstanding officers or who just want to make a difference within the community.

“The budget I recently approved included an amount set aside to ensure there will be proper support and training for those who apply.”

Mark Gilmore, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Special Constables play a vital role in helping to keep our communities safe. Through preventing and investigating crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and reducing disorder, Specials provide a much appreciated active presence in all areas.”

Date posted: April 10, 2014

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