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What is ASCO currently working on?


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Our work

Training standards

ASCCO (ASCO’s predecessor) agreed national training standards for basic training for the Special Constabulary and the level required to achieve Independent Patrol Status (IPS) as part of the first National Strategy for the Special Constabulary:http://www.college.police.uk/What-we-do/Support/Citizens/Special-Constabulary/Documents/SC_Strategy_2011-16.pdf

Our standard is IL4SC and we recommended this to all Forces.

What’s happening now?

There is still variation across the country with some forces achieving the standards and others failing to provide the basic curriculum. The planned Professional Educational Qualifications Framework (PEQF) which is being developed by the College of Policing will see substantial changes in approaches to training standards and approaches for regular officers – including graduate entry, graduate apprenticeships and work-placed assessment. We challenged the College on their suggestion that Special Constables would not need to achieve the same standards. The NPCC supported us in that position. The result is that Special Constables will have to reach the same standards as regular officers. We are now working with the College to work out how the Special Constabulary fit within these new requirements.

Our policy position: we want to see all forces maintaining agreed training standards (IL4SC) for Special Constabulary officers while new national standards are being developed. We believe that all Special Constables should be supported to achieve the same standards as regular officers.

Access to training

ASCCO represented the Special Constabulary in the College of Policing Leadership Review resulting in the College policy that all training should be available to Special Constables as well as regular officers – regardless of rank – provided there is an appropriate business case for this. It has even been accepted that Special Constables can apply for the Strategic Command Course that prepares regular senior officers and police staff for appointments of Assistant Chief Constable or Assistant Chief Officer and above. The course is currently a full-time commitment for 4-6 months and we are keen to put forward appropriate candidates to both test the agreement and give recognition to the skills and value offered by the Special Constabulary.

There is currently considerable national variation in the way that Special Constables are trained and deployed. Some forces put Special Constables into Neighbourhood Policing and don’t allow them to do response work. Others utilize Special Constabulary primarily on response. Some train to Public Order Level II standards and deploy in that role while others deploy without training to this standard. An increasing number of forces are now being more imaginative and using the skills of Special Constables in investigation, cyber-crime and economic crime or in other specialist roles like Mounted policing or marine units. We believe that the police service would be enriched by greater access by Special Constables to the variety of roles in which they have been shown to have a positive impact.

We have written formally to the College of Policing CEO to ask that the College set standards and training requirements across Special Constabulary ranks. The power for the College to do this was written in to the Policing and Crime Act 2017 because of our lobbying with the Home Office and Policing Minister.

Our policy position: we want the College of Policing to set standards and training requirements across Special Constabulary ranks as they for regular police ranks to ensure Special Constables have the opportunity to demonstrate they can achieve the same standards as regular officers and have access to training to support them to do so.

Taser

We have challenged the decision of the Professional Committee not to give Special Constables Tasers and have encouraged the NPCC to review their approach. Chief Constables will vote in July on whether Special Constables should be trained and equipped with Taser if they want that and it’s appropriate to their role.

 

Our policy position: Special Constables deployed to roles in which regular officers would be equipped with Taser should have access to appropriate training and equipment to be similarly equipped and protected to regular colleagues

 

Rank Structure

 

National surveys of attrition of the Special Constabulary demonstrate that a Special Constabulary rank structure is critical to maintaining the supervision and support that enables and encourages Special Constables to give their free time to policing. However, forces regularly question the need for these structures. We work to emphasise the importance of a Special Constabulary rank structure in national standards development.

 

We also work with individual forces to spread our experience of what works to retain and support volunteers. For example, we recently met with a DCC in a force that did not have a rank structure which resulted in a change in approach and a new rank structure being implemented.

 

We were also asked to support the Met Special Constabulary when a publicly available report recommended that ranks be removed. We assisted the Chief Officer to prepare a rebuttal to the findings of that report, which was then reported by Police Oracle. We then drafted the recommended roles for each rank and that was used to get agreement to retain the rank structure.

 

Our policy position: we want all forces to adopt and support a Special Constabulary rank structure that provides effective leadership to the Special Constabulary and helps Special Constables to feel valued and supported

Well-being

We signed up to the Mind Blue Light mental health campaign.

 

Equality and diversity

In the first national benchmarking exercise 14% of SCs left the service because they felt discriminated against. We want to maximise the contribution that people of all backgrounds and communities can bring to the police service to create a wider service that is genuinely representative, accountable and legitimate.

Our priorities

Increase diversity of our membership to ensure we are representing all Special Constables to contribute to the service and maximising the potential to increase wider diversity within the service.

· We will increase our understanding of the experience of Special Constables who are minorities within the service (in particular we lack information about the experience of disabled SCs - research, exit interview process)

· We will seek the views of diverse groups in our contribution to national strategy and policy (develop diversity network / forum)

· We will work to reduce differential attrition rates of minority groups within the Special Constabulary

· We will work to increase representation of Special Constables from diverse backgrounds in leadership positions

· We will work with others to develop welfare support arrangements for Special Constables experiencing discrimination

Enabling factors – rank structure, standardized promotions processes,

We are supporting the ‘He for She’ campaign for gender equality

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