I am sure the whole House agrees that special constables make a vital contribution to the everyday cutting of crime in our communities. We continue to support special constables. I would like all Members to help to recruit more special constables in every one of their constituencies.
I thank the Minister and endorse his comments. May I draw his attention to a special scheme, whereby the business community works with chief constables to release members of staff so they can become fully trained special constables in a short, concentrated period of time?
I am aware of that scheme. Employer supported policing schemes, partnerships between employers and the police forces, are available around the country. [Interruption.] From a sedentary position, I heard a Labour Member say that they are never available when one wants them. The specials do a fantastic job when other people are not available. We should commend every single one of them.
Will the Minister join me in congratulating Kent police specials, whose 248 members volunteered to work more than 100,000 hours of police duty in 2014 and rightly won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the first special constabulary to do so? Is this not a model for how special constables can contribute a huge amount to making our streets safer?
My right hon. Friend brings a lot of experience to this question and I commend Kent police. If I may, I would also like to commend Hertfordshire police, where I had the honour of presenting long service awards to specials and other constables. One had worked an equivalent of three years’ full-time service as a special, something I am sure we all commend.