"You cannot run a police service as if it is Poundsavers"
A national drive to recruit thousands of volunteers to fill key police roles was branded a ‘recipe for disaster’ by the Metropolitan Police Federation.
According to the Daily Mail, Chief Constables are spending £600,000 on drumming up an army of free labour to carry out scores of specialist roles.
Among the posts are jobs supporting elderly crime victims, monitoring CCTV networks, undertaking mounted patrols and even hostage negotiation.
They want members of the public to ‘step up’, saying it ‘takes the efforts of everyone’ to make our neighbourhoods safe.
But critics warned that ‘well-meaning amateurs’ can never replace professional, highly trained police officers.
One accused senior officers of trying to run policing like ‘Poundsavers’, highlighting that volunteers are unregulated and can withdraw their labour at any time.
There are already around 38,000 people working in more than 200 different voluntary roles across England and Wales.
But the number of Special Constables, who have full police powers of arrest but are only paid expenses, are at their lowest since 2006.
Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, branded the move a recipe for disaster.
‘We have to be very careful with specialist roles. If personnel are not trained and maintained correctly we will leave ourselves open to all sorts of disasters,’ he said.
‘Where will it end? You cannot run a police service as if it is Poundsavers.’