6 June 2021
To mark Volunteers Week, PFEW Special Constabulary Lead Dave Bamber celebrates the work of our devoted Specials. He also provides an update on how close Specials are to being able to join the Federation.
Special constables. Did you know they have been around for more than 200 years, but they have never been represented fully and have had very little legal protection - despite facing the exact same threats as regular officers?
Nobody has ever fully represented the Special Constabulary regarding regulations or formal negotiations. Nobody has been on the side of Specials during conversations with key decision makers.
As I write this, I am pleased to say the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has made further progress since I last spoke about it. This will mean more than 9,000 Specials will be able to join the Federation if they wish to do so. They will then receive the protection, support, and representation they need and deserve, thanks to our campaigning. We are confident we will be able to open our doors for them in spring next year. This will be a really proud moment for the Federation, and a historic move.
For decades, from the moment I passed out as PC through to becoming a sergeant, I have stood shoulder to shoulder with Special Constabulary colleagues. I am so glad the perception of them has changed for the best. They are no longer seen as just ‘hobby bobbies’ and are now viewed as an essential part of the service; the impending change in law shows there is an acceptance that wasn’t there in the past.
They played a vital part in assisting during the pandemic, stepping in to help when officers and staff were off sick or self-isolating from Covid-19. As we move into the summer months and policing returns to business as usual, they will also play a key role in helping manage demand.
Our first virtual Annual Conference is also this week and for the first time we have extended an invite to Specials - which is a positive step towards inclusion.
We very much look forward to influencing, negotiating, and persuading on their behalf and making sure their voices are loudly heard.
During Volunteers’ Week we applaud and thank all those who volunteer, and especially those extraordinary individuals who choose to become Special Constables. Your contribution and hard-work is truly recognised by the Federation.