A new body has launched that aims to represent and support Special Constables in England and Wales, The Special Constables National Alliance (SCNA).
There are currently 15,000 Special Constables within the UK that volunteer their time as Police Officers, they have exactly the same powers of arrest as a regular police officer. They are required to complete a minimum 16 hours of duty a month.
With this in mind, there is no representative body to support and help our dedicated special constables. The future will see more and more special constables recruited as force budgets are tightened and officer numbers reduced.
The thing is about special constables they have the same powers, responsibilities and are faced with the same dangers as their paid colleagues, but they are not afforded the same representation and protection.
Whilst in the vast majority of cases Special Constables face no issues in completing their work and receive support from their regular and special colleagues, sometimes they can feel isolated as they cannot join the Police Federation and there is no union that directly represents Special Constables and their interests.
The Special Constable National Alliance, which is founded and run by serving Special Constables, is seeking to change this by forming an organisation where every volunteer officer is represented.
The Alliance will provide a voice for Special Constables at both a local and national level, holding decision makers to account, stand by colleagues when they need the support the most and ensure that training and resources provided to Special Constables are sufficient and consistent.
The Special Constable National Alliance does, of course, recognise the valuable work of the Police Federation and Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers and hopes to work alongside both bodies, but there is still a great void where frontline Special Constables are not given a say in decisions that affect them.
Currently, the SCNA is identifying what level of interest there is to take the Alliance to the next stage, which would be to seek formal recognition of the organisation from the Home Office. In order to gauge this interest, the SCNA asks Special Constables to sign up now.
Already a number of officers have registered with the SCNA with membership open to any serving Special Constable (up to and including the rank of Special Inspector, or the equivalent) and joining is quick, easy and free via the SCNA’s website