Special Constables

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th January 1990.

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Photo of Mr James Pawsey Mr James Pawsey , Rugby and Kenilworth 12:00 am, 25th January 1990

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the number of special constables now attached to police forces in England and Wales; and what steps he will take to encourage chief constables to recruit further, particularly among ethnic minority communities.

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

At the end of June 1989 there were 15,625 special constables in England and Wales; 453 of the total were from the ethnic minority communities. We shall discuss further measures to improve recruitment with members of the police advisory board at its next meeting in February.

Photo of Mr James Pawsey Mr James Pawsey , Rugby and Kenilworth

I thank my hon. Friend for his helpful reply. Does he agree that special constables should not be regarded in any way as second-class coppers? Will he confirm that there is no ceiling on the recruitment of specials? Is there any area where recruitment is difficult? Will he consider a major national campaign to get more specials to assist the police with policing?

Photo of Sir Peter Lloyd Sir Peter Lloyd , Fareham

My hon. Friend is right. Special constables are not second-class policemen; they are first-class citizens who give freely of their time to assist and support the police at points of unusual pressure. There is no ceiling on the number of special constables, and we certainly want more to be recruited. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that we are considering the idea of national advertising. We have run a pilot test in Suffolk and we shall be evaluating its results shortly.