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Specials recruitment drive looks to reverse steep decline

Police Scotland has begun a recruitment drive to turn around a 60% fall in the number of Special Constables.

A campaign by Police Scotland to reverse a sharp decline in the number of Special Constables is focused on changing the idea that most volunteers use the role as a way to becoming a full-time officer.

The UK's only national territorial force admitted it has experienced a “steady decrease” in the number of specials since it was created in 2013.

It said: "with a significant number of recruits using the opportunity as a route to becoming a regular police officer, the campaign focuses on encouraging people to give back to their local community."

The campaign is aimed at turning round a 63% drop in volunteers from 1,391 to 517.

Police Scotland’s multi-media initiative is just the latest stage in a national bid to increase the number of volunteers who do police work. In September last year, the Civil Service announced 19 Whitehall departments had signed up to a scheme where officials were given 12 days of paid leave to enable them to become Special Constables.

Whitehall departments backed the campaign partly because it offered the opportunity for policymakers to gain frontline experience and share their knowledge.

The Police Scotland campaign, which will run across poster sites, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, is promoting community values and how volunteering can help local people.

Police Scotland’s Assistant Chief Constable, John Hawkins, said: “There are thousands of people living in Scotland who could bring the skills and talents from their own jobs into the role of a volunteer police officer and in support of their local community.”

He added: “Police Scotland undoubtedly benefits from the experience volunteers bring, but it’s also an opportunity unlike any other where you gain confidence, new skills and get the chance to help people in need or make their life better.”

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