HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc1054-5W
Mr. Gray

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about establishment, recruitment and retention in the special constabulary. [65610]

Mr. Denham

Special constables are a key element of our police reform agenda. We are working on a package of measures designed to help improve the way they are recruited, managed and deployed.

We are particularly keen to improve liaison with employers. Later this year, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary will publish a joint discussion paper on fiscal and other changes we can make to promote community service, including service as a special constable. A new headline role for specials has been published, focusing on intelligence-led patrolling and crime reduction initiatives. A new foundation training package for specials was issued in June and revised conditions of service regulations and new conduct regulations are being prepared.

Central to this process will be Home Office/the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) good practice guidance covering all aspects of the recruitment, management and deployment of specials, which will be issued by the end of the year. We have also set aside £300,000 to help "specials champions" forces drive forward initiatives to improve the recruitment and retention of specials. I have asked deputy chief constable Peter Fahy of Surrey police to help with this.