8 September 2021
Derbyshire Police Federation has urged ministers to tackle the urgent issues facing the police service before unveiling new policies after leaked documents revealed the Government was considering creating a reservist police force.
A report in the Telegraph said retired officers, or those who have left the service early, could also be retained for a period to bolster numbers, especially in experienced ranks.
It will also seek to persuade highly-trained professionals from the private sector – especially in fields such as cyber-security and digital technology – to volunteer their time and skills during periods of increased demand.
But Police Federation officials warned new ideas such as this would not address the real issues faced by policing.
Derbyshire branch chair Tony Wetton said: “It seems very strange that the Government is dreaming up proposals like this at a time when policing in this country faces some very difficult challenges.
“Ministers should be sorting out urgent issues such as pay and police numbers as a top priority but instead it appears to be briefing the media about bringing people out of retirement to create some sort of force of reservists.
“I think it’s time the Government started taking this country’s policing crisis a lot more seriously and tried to tackle the problems at hand before coming up with schemes like this.”
National Federation chair John Apter said: “Yet again we find out about a proposed piece of Government policy through the media, and we have not seen any details on the reserve capability of volunteer officers.
“It is also important to highlight the fact we already have a group of dedicated, professional, fully-warranted volunteers called Special Constables, who give up thousands of unpaid hours a month while facing the same risks and dangers as regular officers.
“In addition to the fantastic contribution Special Constables make, the service needs sustainable, long-term funding to make a tangible difference, not a Government scrabbling about to see who will do policing for free.”
The Telegraph said the idea was supported by a number of leading officers and also has backing within the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.