§ Tim Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables were serving in(a) Sussex police and (b) Highdown division in each year since 1997. 
§ Mr. Denham
[holding answer 15 October 2002]: Police Personnel statistics are collected by the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate every six months. The figures are collected per force and not at divisional level. The figures available for the Sussex Special Constabulary as a whole at 31 March each year since 1997 are given in the table below:
1997 472 1998 442 1999 393 2000 352 2001 306 2002 306
* Statistics provided by Research Development and Statistics Directorate.
The special constabulary is a key element of the reform agenda. Specials have a vital role to play in reducing crime and providing reassurance to the public. We are committed to increasing the number of specials. In May we announced a new headline role for specials, focusing on intelligence led patrolling and crime reduction initiatives. Also in May we introduced a new foundation training package for specials. With the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) we are preparing, good practice guidance which will help forces to develop their strategies for improving both the recruitment and retention of specials.