Federation hits out at reservist force plans

Ministers should address the urgent issues faced by police forces across the country before unveiling proposals for new policies such as the creation of a reservist force, according to South Wales Police Federation.

A report in the Telegraph said the Government was considering bringing former officers out of retirement and encouraging those who have left the service early to return for a period of time to boost numbers, especially across the experienced ranks.

It would also seek to persuade highly-trained professionals from the private sector – especially in fields such as cyber security and digital technology – to volunteer their time and skills during periods of increased demand.

But Police Federation officials said such new ideas did nothing to address the real issues faced by policing and called for proper investment in the service.

South Wales branch chair Steve Treharne said: “The police service doesn’t need a reserve force of retired officers, it needs proper investment, it needs the recognition it deserves and it needs the full backing of a supportive Government.

“These ideas are all well and good but at the end of the day there are important issues that need to be sorted out as a priority, not least the ongoing row over officer pay.

“This just feels like yet another example of a Government which is out of touch with its own police service rushing out new policies rather than trying to tackle the real issues that affect our members day in and day out.”

National Federation chair John Apter said: “Yet again we find out about a proposed piece of Government policy through the media, and we have not seen any details on the reserve capability of volunteer officers.

“It is also important to highlight the fact we already have a group of dedicated, professional, fully-warranted volunteers called Special Constables, who give up thousands of unpaid hours a month while facing the same risks and dangers as regular officers.

“In addition to the fantastic contribution Special Constables make, the service needs sustainable, long-term funding to make a tangible difference, not a Government scrabbling about to see who will do policing for free.”

The Telegraph said the idea was supported by a number of leading officers and also has backing within the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.