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Hertfordshire Police Federation

Federation criticises plans for reserve force

7 September 2021

Hertfordshire Police Federation has called on the Government to address concerns over pay and pensions before launching new policies after leaked documents revealed ministers were considering setting up a reservist police force.

A report in the Telegraph said the Government would bring former officers out of retirement and encourage those who have left the service early to return for a period of time to boost numbers, especially across the experienced ranks.

It would 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 said the plans failed to tackle the real issues faced by policing and called for proper investment in the service.

Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell said: “The pressure our members are under was highlighted over the past 18 months when they found themselves policing at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic

“Those brave officers believe their concerns over pay, pensions and working conditions should be taken seriously by the Home Office and the Government so I am not sure now is the right time for ministers to start talking about bringing former officers back into the fold to form some sort of reserve police force - there are far bigger issues to address first.

“Our members, and members of the public, want to see the police service improved and that will only come through a proper programme of sustained investment, not through creating a part-time volunteer force in an attempt to boost numbers.”

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.”

According to the Telegraph, a police force reserve would operate along similar lines to the Armed Forces reserve with recruits being called upon in times of increased demand to support regular officers.

It said the idea was supported by a number of leading officers and also has backing within the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.

 

 

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