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.
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?
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.