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Special Constables

Volume 264: debated on Tuesday 24 October 1995

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to provide funding to police forces to assist the recruitment of special constables and improvements to their conditions and training. [39830]

We have established a new challenge fund for special constables. It includes £4 million of Government grant in 1995–96. Police forces in England and Wales are being invited to bid for money to help to resource an increase in the size of their local special constabularies and to help bring the training and equipment of special constables to a more consistent standard.We have asked forces to look for other sources of support, such as local sponsorship, to boost the fund. Sponsors are also invited to contribute on a national basis.The special constabulary makes a valuable contribution to the policing of this country by supplementing the efforts of the regular force. Specials provide an important and visible link between the police and local communities. I hope that the fund will not only increase numbers towards the Government target of 30,000 but improve the quality of the assistance special constable can give to regular police officers.We have issued guidance to all forces in England and Wales about bidding for grants from the fund. I am placing a copy of it in the Library.