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Specials move a step closer to federation membership

Still need to change legal status in 10-year battle for recognition

Rank-and-file recognition of the “important part” special constables play in the police service has moved a step closer.

Proposals to allow specials to become members of the Police Federation of England and Wales have been “welcomed”– despite ongoing discussions over how it will be funded.

The idea of allowing policing’s volunteer officers to be members of the PFEW has been under discussion for the past 10 years and was a motion passed at a previous conference.

But one of the major stumbling blocks that stymies any progress is the need for change in government legislation required to enable special constables to join the federation.

Currently special constables are deprived membership of the staff association.

The PFEW has been in regular discussion with the Home Office, Association of Special Constabulary Officers the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to find a solution.

And national federation chairman John Apter – a one-time special himself – is a champion of progress on the matter, believing the support and protection they can offer is vital in a changing world of policing.

He argued:“I was a special constable, as were a number of federation reps and colleagues within policing.

“Special constables are an important part of the police service, who put themselves in the same situations with the same risks as regular officers.

“They therefore deserve the same legal protection and support as regular officers and the PFEW is best placed to do that.

“We now need to forge ahead with this which we know will require a change in legislation.”

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