More Special Constables set for the streets of Uttlesford

Police Special Constables.

Police Special Constables. - Credit: Archant

NINE new special constables are being trained up with the help of a £10,000 grant from Uttlesford District Council – and companies could be called on to further bolster the initiative.

It comes as Cllr Robert Chambers, the former chairman of the Police Authority, expressed his fears about a possible decline in police officer numbers because of ongoing budget cuts.

“With 84 per cent of the police precept going towards manpower it is obvious something has got to give,” he told the Reporter. “I hope there are not going to be too many severe cuts to the police force because fewer officers on the street will have an impact – that is what I’m concerned about.

“I’m going to keep an eye on it but if we can continue to recruit specials, who have the same powers as regular officers, hopefully it can help the police in Uttlesford.”

Cllr Chambers also said he would like to see a partnership between Uttlesford and Essex County Council aimed at encouraging companies to give employees “two to three hours per week to do constabulary work”.

It is the second time in 12 months the district council has paid £10,000 towards the training of special constables. Nine are already patrolling the streets of Uttlesford, primarily in Dunmow, while the next batch are earmarked for the Saffron Walden area.

“We have had a great response from the community and at a recent recruitment day there were 40 people who came along because they were interested in becoming police specials,” Cllr Chambers added.

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“Many of them were aged between 19-23, which is very positive to see so many young people wanting to make their communities safer.”

Alastair Walters, cabinet member for community safety, said: “I am delighted the district council has agreed to fund £10,000 for further recruitment of special constables and this can only help policing in Uttlesford in the future.

“What is particularly great to see is that a lot of specials go on to become police officers once they get a taste for the job. Not only that but those who have applied are from the local area and that is a positive benefit because local knowledge is vital.”

• WHAT do you think about the introduction of more police special constables in Uttlesford? Would you apply to help out if your company was allowed to give you a couple of hours off per week? E-mail