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Volunteer plan: ‘What we need is a properly funded service’

PoliceGovernment plans to bring more volunteers into the police service are a “knee jerk response to the obvious void created by budget cuts and 17,000 fewer police officers”, the chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

Nick Smart said the proposals “will be confusing for public – with warranted officers, PCSOs, Special constables and now volunteers”.

He added: “The Government talk of supporting those that protect us – when in reality they continue to undermine and dismantle the best police model in the world.

“The fact that “no further cuts” to policing were announced by the Chancellor in the Comprehensive Spending Review last year was because of Paris attacks and the political ramifications if an attack took place in the UK had proposed cuts gone ahead.

“This is not about protecting the police service or any single officer, it’s about a Government protecting themselves from potential criticism if an incident happens.

“The plan to introduce more volunteers into policing is not about reform, this is about finance and doing things as cheaply as possible.”

Mr Smart said the need for volunteers was a recognition that the country does not have officers to deal with the demand for the service.

He added: “The Westminster bubble does not even understand the demand on the country’s police service. Some 80% of what we do is not crime.

“Our work around safeguarding and vulnerability – counter terrorism, child sexual exploitation, cybercrime and mental health – is not adequately measured in terms of impact on resources or funding.

“We seem to be budgeting for the future on only 20% of what the service is measured on.

“What we need is a properly trained and resourced police service, with the office of constable at the heart of it. The public want police officers – not some diluted, pale imitation of willing amateurs.”

The criticism is in response to an announcement by Home Secretary Theresa May that police chiefs would have the power to give more responsibility to support staff and volunteers, without them having to become Special constables.

Date posted: February 19, 2016

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