Special Constables will be eligible to join Cambridgeshire Police Federation from Friday (1 July) after a change to legislation.
This is a major change, coming into law as part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022, and will see voluntary colleagues afforded the same legal protections and representation as regular officers, for the first time.
Liz Groom, chair of Cambridgeshire Police Federation, explains: “Special Constables come from a wide variety of backgrounds and enrich policing with their different skills and life experiences. When they put on the uniform, they are police officers like the rest of us and are exposed the same risks and dangers.
“Until now they have not enjoyed the same protections and support for their welfare. So, this is a big step forward for Specials and for the Federation – and I’m delighted that our years of campaigning and lobbying Government have been successful.
“On behalf of Cambridgeshire Federation, I am delighted to welcome our colleagues from the Special Constabulary. Together we are stronger.”
Liz added: “I would encourage any Specials who are interested in joining Cambridgeshire Police Federation to contact the branch and we can talk you through the benefits.”
The Special Constabulary was formed in 1831 and its members serve the public in a voluntary and unpaid capacity. In 2020, they volunteered an incredible three million hours across the UK. However, they have never had an umbrella organisation representing them and had negligible legal protection until now.
Dave Bamber from the Police Federation of England and Wales National Board said: “Specials play a dangerous and difficult role in society, and they need support in the workplace to ensure they are treated fairly and not disadvantaged and the Federation will be there to offer that support. From a Special Constabulary point of view, the law change is a really big indication of acceptance within the police family and the Federation wishes to embrace them as well.”
Along with the work already carried out by the Specials Working Group, a Branch Pilot Group has been established to ensure all Federation branches are supported regarding the joining process and all other aspects of this change.
Having access to legal protection will also open the opportunity for Specials to take up Taser training, if approved by the local chief constable, if they wish to do so.