Volunteer special constables to get coronavirus allowance
- Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police
Special Constables who agree to complete a set number of shifts are being financially compensated with an allowance by Devon and Cornwall Police as the force strengthens its response to policing the coronavirus pandemic.
Until earlier this year Specials Constables – volunteer officers with full police powers – could only apply for expenses incurred while carrying out their duties.
Now Devon and Cornwall Police, backed by its Commissioner Alison Hernandez, has launched an extended pilot project to see the force through the depths of winter. Those who perform eight, eight-hour shifts in December and January will be eligible to apply for the allowance of £750.
Special Constables remain classified as volunteers under the scheme but the Commissioner and Chief Constable favour a change in legislation that would enable police forces to use the Special Constabulary as a paid reserve.
“We have a unique set of challenges in Devon and Cornwall, with a large remote force area which sees its population swell in the summer months,” Commissioner Hernandez said.
“Volunteers are a huge asset to our communities in helping us maintain Devon and Cornwall as one of the safest force areas in the country.
“This is about recognising some of the barriers to service that the Special Constabulary face and perhaps making it more attractive to those who have considered joining but who may not be in a financial position to be able to give that time for no reward.”
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Shaun Sawyer, chief constable of Devon and Cornwall Police said: “The role of volunteers is pivotal to policing within the peninsula and without which, many of our frontline services would not be as effective.
“In respect of the Special Constabulary, they are unique in having all of the powers of sworn full-time officers and the responsibilities that go with it, whilst also providing their services as volunteers.”
Marc Kastner, chief officer, Special Constabulary, said: “The Covid-19 cars being operated by Special Constables within Devon and Cornwall will support local communities stay safe particularly over the winter period.”
The Devon and Cornwall pilot project follows a West Midlands Police scheme which gave a one-off allowance to each Special Constable for every 16 hours they worked over and above their normal shifts to help with the response to Covid-19.