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  1. Decline in number of volunteer warranted officers has been increasing in last two years. A group of new special constables being welcomed to Derbyshire Constabulary earlier this year. Recruitment of specials has gone into sharp decline since 2012 Date - 12th November 2018 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle 7 Comments The number of special constables in England and Wales is heading towards its lowest level since records began, researchers have found. Across all forces there has been a 41 per cent fall in their number since 2012. In the past some thought the big drive to recruit before the Olympics which saw numbers rise from their historic low of just under 11,000 in 2004 to more than 20,000, could account for the fall in the years following the Games. But numbers are now down to 11,690 across the country, and the rate at which specials are quitting has shot up in the last two years. A study of the special constabulary by the Institute for Public Safety, Crime and Justice has noted the trend, using figures going back to 1972 - when there were more than 30,000 specials. Dr Iain Britton, who worked on the report, said the Olympics theory is only part of “a much broader picture”. “The rate of resignation of specials remains high across a majority of forces, with a third leaving each year nationally. This is partly driven by specials resigning to become regulars,” he said. “However the data suggests the majority of leavers do not join up, and the high rate of attrition also reflects issues of support and leadership, integration and engagement, being deployed effectively, and being valued.” He added: “Very low rates of recruitment in many forces have also been a significant factor, particularly over the past two years. The volume of recruitment nationally into the specials is close to being at an all-time low. "This appears to reflect issues of limited resourcing in forces, with recruitment and training capacity being committed to regular officer recruitment, more than it does wider issues of reductions in interest in volunteering." Only British Transport Police, West Mercia, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire have more specials now than they did in 2012. Declines of more than 60 per cent have been seen in the West Midlands, Gwent, Surrey and the Met. The institute has also found: one in four specials don’t feel recognised for their efforts a third don’t feel they have the equipment they need two-thirds feel that some of their time is wasted. Ian Miller, chairman of the Association of Special Constabulary Officers, said: “Managing specials and volunteers is completely different from managing regulars, but many forces haven’t appreciated that in their approaches. “Until we have a national programme in place to deliver proper leadership across the special constabulary this will not get better.” A Home Office spokesman said: “Volunteers in policing make a vital contribution to keeping our communities safe and we were pleased to recognise their achievements at the recent Lord Ferrers Awards. “The reasons for reductions in the number of special constables will vary between forces and, ultimately, decisions on the size, composition and deployment of a police force’s workforce are for individual chief officers and police and crime commissioners.” Chief constables have recently agreed a new national special constabulary strategy, after more than 18-months of discussions about the document. It announces the formation of an NPCC working group for specials, and promises stronger links between the special constabulary, Home Office and College of Policing. The number of regular officers is at a near 40-year low, with chiefs warning that this could fall by an additional 10,000 if additional pension costs are not centrally funded. View On Police Oracle
  2. Former chief officers group open to all volunteer officers. All specials in England and Wales will soon be able to join a staff association after what was a chief officer group voted to expand its membership. The Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers will become the Association of Special Constabulary Officers (ASCO), and open its doors to volunteer officers at any level of experience. Among its plans is to train a network of representatives to represent specials at disciplinary matters which don’t meet the threshold for Home Office cover. That cover currently only applies if gross misconduct or criminal accusations are levelled at a special. The organisation describes itself as the UK’s lead body for volunteer policing, and takes part in research and tries to spread good practice. It also plans member discounts for third party organisations. ASCO chairman Special Commissioner Ian Miller said: “We had a meeting on Saturday to see if we should get members to confirm they are happy for us to open our membership to all special constables regardless of rank and it was agreed. “Many forces have been trying to expand their special constabularies in recent years but there hasn’t been a national organisation to speak for them.” Membership fees for the association will be reviewed, but are currently set at £10 per year. The rank change will be effective as of next week. The Police Federation of England and Wales voted to allow specials to join it in 2014 but the Home Office decided not to allow this. The department said it would ensure specials have “the representation they need” in 2016, but is yet to change its policies regarding the officers. View On Police Oracle

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