UK public servants urged to join police, as volunteers

By Shannon Jenkins

September 19, 2019

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Civil servants in the UK have been encouraged to help the community by volunteering with police.

Volunteers would get up to 12 days paid special leave a year, according to the Home Office, with 19 departments on board including the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.

The part-time police wear the same uniform and have the same powers as the regular police, but without the pay packet. They can, however, receive expenses and some benefits, like free local travel. If allowed, they can also drive the same vehicles.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said volunteers “are citizens who serve twice”.

“I hope that colleagues from across the Civil Service will follow the lead of those from the Home Office who’ve become special constables – warranted police officers who keep their fellow citizens safe – developing their own skills and leadership too,” he said.

A guide has been issued explaining how to apply, eligibility, possible roles and how the Civil Service will support volunteers.

Home Office has led the way in helping hopeful special constables, according to the department’s Permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam.

“Special constables play a pivotal role in meeting some of our most important priorities – tackling knife crime, safeguarding the vulnerable and keeping the public safe,” he said.

“Civil servants who take this opportunity will gain professionally and get an insight into frontline policing, which will be valued across government.”

Peter Brown, from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, said the new special leave policy is a “big step forward”.

“I’ve been a special constable for five years and yet everyday has been different – from working beats and leading teams to helping manage the deployment of officers,” he said.

“So if you like a challenge and care about your community, don’t hesitate to give it a go.”

The Home Office increased its special leave allowance for special constables in November 2018. There were more than 10,000 special constables in the UK recorded in March this year.

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