The special constabulary has grown by 3000 in the last four years and the Home Office has announced that a further 3000 special constables will be recruited in the next three years. The new recruits will bring the total up to 20,000.
Constables work alongside Police Community Support Officers and Police Officers on the streets of local communities and they help reduce crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.
Special constables are volunteers who serve as police officers in their own time, often in the evenings or at weekends. Their principle role consists of local, intelligence based patrols and crime reduction initiatives, targeted at specific local crime problems. They have the full powers of a police constable within their force and surrounding force areas, including the power of arrest, which distinguishes them from other members of the extended police family such as Community Support Officers.
It is also planned to set up nine new regional co-ordinators to drive forward a more targeted approach to the recruitment and development of special constables. They will work closely with the local forces and the ACPO regional leads to identify need and provide solutions to enable more people to become involved and contribute to the policing of their communities through the role of special constable.