The target of recruiting 900 special constables by Northamptonshire Police is “unrealistic”, according to the county’s Police Federation.
Last week, the Chronicle & Echo reported that Police & Crime Commissioner Adam Simmonds wanted to bolster police numbers by creating the largest force of special constables in the country. A Freedom of Information request had revealed that there were 130 fewer police officers in the county since five years ago.
Northamptonshire Police Federation joing branch board secretary, Neil Goosey, said special constables could play an important role but he believed the target number of 900 recruits was unrealistic.
Mr Goosey said: “The reality is that special constables (SPCs) have been a part of policing for years. The relationship between SPCs and regular PCs has sometimes been fraught and at one time SPCs were looked on less favourably, but I acknowledge that policing has changed and there is less money.
“The position we have always maintained is that SPCs should be there to complement and support policing, not replace it. You cannot replace experienced, trained and skilled officers with less experienced, less trained and less skilled volunteers in what is a complex public service role.
“I also don’t think the target of 900 SPCs is realistic if we want to maintain the high standards and the expectations that the public has. It isn’t only about numbers, it is also about correct deployment, support and training.”