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Forces ask for the help of police volunteers to bolster officer numbers

20 Mar 2020

Forces ask for the help of police volunteers to bolster officer numbers: 33654

The National Police Chiefs’ Council are asking employers to consider providing paid leave to Special Constables so they can support the police service in managing the impact of the Coronavirus.

In the wake of the national crisis created by Covid-19, it is expected that police forces across the UK will come under increasing strain as they try to maintain business-as-usual policing while managing rising levels of sickness and self-isolation of officers and staff.

There are currently more than 10,000 Special Constables in the UK - warranted officers with all the powers of a regular police officer who volunteer their services. They are deployed in their local communities to support the day-to-day operations of their forces and, crucially, provide resilience at critical times.

The appeal is to primarily to businesses which are already part of the national Employer Supported Policing Scheme (ESP), an agreement where Special Constable employees are provided with additional paid leave to allow them to undertake policing duties.

But even employers who are not currently part of the ESP are being asked to show their support by joining the scheme and helping to meet this unique call to action from police and government.

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said:

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“Our Special Constables play a vital role in the police service, a service which will be placed under great strain over the coming months.

“We appreciate that this would be placing a further burden on businesses who are already suffering the economic impact of this virus, and we do not make this appeal lightly.

“Businesses who are able to release their staff to undertake these important roles will be supporting the national effort against Covid-19 by helping us to maintain services and keep people safe.

“This is part of our contingency planning for the coming weeks and months.

“If you represent an ESP business willing to extend your existing commitment, or wish to join the scheme, please contact the ESP National Team on and somebody will be in touch with you to discuss how you can help us to meet this challenge.”

Policing is also considering other ways of managing the surge in demand and expected drop in capacity created by Coronavirus, including relaxing rules on officers re-joining the service after retirement.