29 June 2022
Derbyshire Police Federation is preparing to welcome Special Constables as members following a change in the law.
As part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, which comes into effect this week, volunteer officers will be able to join the Federation and receive the same representation and legal protections as regular officers.
Derbyshire branch chair Tony Wetton said: “I am delighted to be able to welcome Special Constables into the Federation for the first time. Specials have a long and proud history, dating back to 1831, of volunteering their time to assist police officers and keep the public safe.
“In 2020, they contributed an incredible three million hours to UK policing nationally. To us they are more than volunteers, they are colleagues. They face the same risks and dangers are regular officers but until now they were not eligible to receive the same support for their welfare and legal protection.”
Tony added: “This is, of course, excellent news for Special Constables. I would definitely urge any Special colleague in Derbyshire to speak to the branch and find out how membership can help them. All Specials will be written to soon to explain their options.
“In Derbyshire we have had an arrangement with the Force for a few years that Derbyshire Police Federation would provide support and representation - short of legal representation - for Special Constabulary colleagues, but this important change will mean that subscribing Specials will soon receive the same excellent service enjoyed by regular colleagues.”
The change in the law is a direct result of the Police Federation of England and Wales lobbying of Government. It will also create an opportunity for Specials to take up Taser training, if approved by the chief constable.
Federation national chair Steve Hartshorn said: “Special Constables bring their own unique set of life skills into policing. It is only right that they have the same protection, support and experience as their full-time colleagues when they need it.”
And Dave Bamber from the National Board added: “Specials need support in the workplace to ensure they are treated fairly. From a Special Constabulary point of view, the law change is a really big indication of acceptance within the police family and the Federation wishes to embrace them as well.”
Along with the work already carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales Specials Working Group, a Branch Pilot Group has been established to ensure all Federation branches are supported regarding the joining process and all other aspects of this change.