HC Deb 18 December 2003 vol 415 c1057W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many special constables have been in post, in each half year, since September 2001. [144498]

Ms Blears

Home Office figures on police strength moved to an annual cycle from March 2002 and are available in the House Library, as are previous publications. The number of Special Constables in post in England and Wales for each half year available since September 2001 are set out as follows:

September 2001 12,068
March 2002 11,598
March 2003 11,037

We are working with stakeholders to increase the size and effectiveness of the Special Constabulary. In particular, we are rolling out Home Office/Association of Chief Police Officers 'Good Practice Guidance'; we are also holding a 2nd National Specials Weekend on 28–29 February 2004 to help raise the profile of Specials and the invaluable work they do; and we have recently announced grants of up to £70,000 to assist forces to boost their capacity to recruit and manage Specials effectively.