Clause 35 - Police regulations: special constables

Part of Railways and Transport Safety Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:15 am on 13th February 2003.

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Photo of Anne McIntosh Anne McIntosh Shadow Minister (Transport) 10:15 am, 13th February 2003

I shall try to grip the attention of all members of the Committee, so that no one is minded to break your strictures, Mr. Hood.

Clause 34 does not apply to special constables or cadets, which is obviously why clause 35 was drafted. Will the Under-Secretary of States confirm that special constables will be recruited under conditions similar to those of their equivalents? I understand that specials are retained under different conditions and that most are voluntary. Presumably, that will apply to British Transport police as it does for Home Office-recruited special constables.

As we do to regular officers of the British Transport police, we owe our thanks to special constables of whom great demands are made. It is not a full-time occupation for them, but they put themselves at risk, especially in the present circumstances. I pay tribute to them.

I gather that the existing police force regulations may be modified. Can the Under-Secretary elucidate on the proposed modifications, or will it be left to the authority to determine them? How will the terms and conditions of the special constables differ from those of regular constables? I understand that, for the most part, they are voluntary. Is there any difficulty in recruiting specials? Many of us will support our regular police forces in their recruitment drive for special constables this weekend. Has the alarming

trend in the recruitment figures been reflected in the regulations?