§ 1. Mr. Hawksley
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any proposals to alter the structure of the Special Constabulary.
§ The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. Patrick Mayhew)
The role of the Special Constabulary has recently been reviewed by the Police Advisory Board. It considered that the role of the Special Constabulary as a valuable supplement to the regular police and as a link between the police and the public should remain unchanged. My right hon. Friend has no plans to alter the present organisation of the Special Constabulary.
§ Mr. Hawksley
My hon. and learned Friend's answer is disappointing, in view of the very small number of applicants. My own police authority, West Mercia, has 1,348 established posts available and 334 special constables in post—
§ Mr. Hawksley
In view of the small number of applicants for special constable duty, will my hon. and learned Friend consider the proposals that were made to change the name of the force, possibly to pay a bounty, and to increase the responsibilities of special constables?
§ Mr. Mayhew
I share my hon. Friend's concern for the recruitment to the Special Constabulary. There were 15,160 special constables at the end of December 1982. That was 182 more than a year before and the first increase in strength for 30 years.
A change in name was considered, but it was thought that to call the Special Constabulary the Reserve Police, for example, would give rise to operational confusion, so that suggestion has been rejected.