25th August 2018
Part 3: Should Special Constables Become Police Reservists and Have a Community Safety Role?
The modern day Special Constabulary came into being as a result of two Acts of Parliament in 1831 and 1835. The latter made membership of the Special Constabulary voluntary and increased the jurisdiction of special constables beyond their local policing areas. However, since those early days of the Special Constabulary, with the development of a more professional police service, the introduction of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), partnership policing and policing technology the face of policing in general has changed forever. Therefore, I propose that reform of the Special Constabulary should be considered, to modernise the voluntary Constabulary and make it far more integrated within modern policing.
A change of name from Special Constabulary to Police Reservists would appear to be more appropriate and this could be extended to include Ambulance, and Fire and Rescue Reservists. Reservists should be educated and trained to the same level as regular Police, Ambulance, and Fire and Rescue Services staff, which would require a far greater commitment from potential volunteers.
In relation to Police Reservists, the Police Constable Entry Route into the Police Service should be the same for Police Reservists as for regular police constables, i.e. via the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship (PCDA), a Professionally Focused Undergraduate Degree in Policing (PFUDP) or the Degree Holder Entry Programme (DHEP). This would allow Police Reservists to be deployed alongside their regular counterparts, with the confidence that both Reservists and regulars have received the same high standard of training.
Police Reservists should also be considered for direct entry as Inspectors and Superintendents or into specialist police departments, which would be dependent on their previous experience and training, and subject to the current direct entry policies and practices. This would also dispense with the need for the separate rank structure that currently exists within the Special Constabulary in many policing areas.
Police Reservists with specialist skills may be better deployed into specialist police roles or departments, whilst others may be deployed into a more proactive community safety role through Neighbourhood Policing.
I further propose that volunteers who may consider becoming a Police, Ambulance or Fire and Rescue Reservist, but are unable to commit themselves to the level of training or education required for this role, should become a Community Safety Reservist (CSR) and work alongside their Community Safety Officer (CSO) counterparts.
Please see previous blog:
Dr Garry Thomas, TSF
The Salus Fellowship Limited
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