Conference votes to allow Specials to join Federation
SPECIAL Constables are to be invited to join the Police Federation as full subscribing members after a favourable vote at the body’s Annual General Meeting.
The conference motion stated Specials wanting to join will be “required to pay the same rate of subscription to the voluntary fund as serving officers in order to access the full range of membership services.” This currently stands at £21.58 a month.
John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said: “Today we have made the right decision. As a former Special Constable and somebody who can see the real benefit our Special Constable colleagues bring to policing it is right and proper they are welcomed as Federation members.
“Special Constables are an integral part of our business, they carry a warrant card and provide invaluable support to our members. This is a great result and one I am proud to support.”
There are presently some 18,000 Special Constables in England and Wales.
Only 12.5 per cent of Special Constables responded to a federation online survey last year asking whether they wanted to join the Staff Association.
Of those that responded 2,356 (94 per cent) said they would choose to become a member of the Police Federation.
Earlier in the conference, Ian Miller, a City of London Police Special and a member of the Association of Special Constabulary Chief Officers (ASCCO), said that this low turn out was possibly a reflection of the fact that the conference has consistently voted no to allowing specials to join.
“I don’t think the vote was a true picture,” he said. “They are aware of the ‘no’ vote from the last conference and when it is discussed among Specials there is a feeling that ‘they wont vote for us anyway.’”
DCC Michael Banks, from Durham Police, who leads nationally on Specials, told the conference that volunteer officers worked four and a half million hours for the police service last year. This was the equivalent of £75 million in manpower costs.
Insp Sean Bell, from Merseyside Police Federation, said: “I think they should join the Police Federation. We have been approached on several occasions by members of the Special Constabulary asking for support and it is always a big debate as to whether we should or we shouldn’t.
“I think the subscription they pay should be based on their income. They have a variety of different roles and a lot of them are students who are thinking of joining the police so a lot of them are potentially members anyway. I think it should be a sliding scale.”