22 March 2021
The passing of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will mean Derbyshire Special Constables will finally be able to become members of the Police Federation.
The bill, which passed its second reading in Parliament on Tuesday (16 March), follows a decade of the Federation campaigning for Specials to have equal rights to the support and advice available to other police staff.
The chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, Tony Wetton, described the decision as ‘a little bit of good news that will make a huge difference to our Special Constables’.
He said: “We have been fighting our Specials’ corner for 10 years so we look forward to welcoming them as members. They support policing as unpaid volunteers, facing the same risks and challenges working to protect communities, including during the pandemic when their steadfast work was invaluable. Yet they have never been able to access the support of the Federation.
“The Government’s decision to now make this possible is a little bit of good news that will make a huge difference to Specials and enables us to formally support them should we need to. It is also indicative of the value that Specials have to forces.”
Joining more than 130,000 regular constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors as Federation members, Specials will be able to receive support and advice from elected workplace reps and will also be able to call on expert advice and representation during performance and misconduct proceedings.
This will form part of the support package to ensure they know their rights and entitlements and means they will receive the right support if any workplace issues are encountered.
As Federation members, Specials will for also the first time be able to apply for legal assistance in criminal, conduct and civil cases as well as gaining access to Member Service offers.
The national Federation’s Special Constabulary lead Dave Bamber continued: ““Nobody has ever really fully represented the Special Constabulary regarding regulations or formal negotiations. Nobody has been on the side of Specials during conversations with key decision-makers - and now the Federation will be. It is a really proud moment for the Federation and a historic move.
“It is only right Specials receive the same legal protections, support with workplace grievances and negotiations over conditions as their regular counterparts.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is expected to continue to progress through Parliament before becoming law later this year.