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  • Writer's pictureKeith Prince AM

Plan to recruit more special constables unveiled

Football stewards should be able to become special constables and play a key role in policing home games, a new report has said.

The report, Policing: Keeping it Special, recommends that a new specials scheme should encourage football stewards to become trained specials on the condition that they only police their clubs’ games and receive free tickets for themselves and their families.

But the move should form part of a much broader approach to reversing the steep decline in the number of Met specialconstables over the past four years. Numbers have dropped from just over 3,200 in May 2016 to 1762 in August 2019 – a shocking 45 percent decrease.

The report’s author, London Assembly Member Keith Prince, said that increasing the number of specials was not only necessary in order to give police officers extra support, but also to save the Met money. His report estimates that the special constabulary saved Londoners nearly £14 million in 2018 but warned that this figure is dwindling in light of the reduction in specials.

Among other recommendations, the report urges the Met to put more effort into recruiting retired police officers as specials, highlighting that only seven retired Met officers joined the special constabulary in 2018.

It also says that more needs to be done to fill the skills gap in areas which are typically difficult to recruit for, such as cyber security. Just 12.8 percent of specials are currently working in special roles, which Prince says is evidence of the need for a much more effective and targeted recruitment drive.

Commenting, Keith Prince AM said:

“By generously volunteering their own time, specials save the taxpayer millions of pounds every year while playing an indispensable role in helping to keep Londoners safe.

“The dramatic fall in the number of specials under Sadiq Khan is deeply concerning, and it is incumbent on the Mayor and the Met Police to do all they can to reverse the decline. This drop in specials will be costing Londoners dear, both financially and in terms of the quality of service offered by the Met.

“Sadiq Khan and the higher echelons of the Met need to take a proactive, targeted and creative approach to increasing the number of specials to pre-Khan levels. Adopting the eight innovative recommendations contained in this report would go a long way to giving a much-needed boost to the special constabulary."


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