â€˜We need investment not a reserve force’

Dyfed Powys Police Federation has called on the Government to provide proper investment for policing after leaked documents revealed ministers were considering establishing a reservist police force of volunteers.

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

But Police Federation officials said the plans failed to tackle the real issues faced by policing and called for proper investment in the service.

Dyfed Powys branch chair Gareth Jones said: “Our members would much rather the Government addressed their concerns over pay and conditions and pensions rather than come up with these new policies that may or may not come to fruition.

“The idea of a reserve force raises lots of questions - especially because we already have an excellent and dedicated group of Special Constables - but once again there has been zero consultation with the people on the frontline.

“What our members are really looking for is proper investment in the police service and proper improvements. It is no secret that our relationship with the Government has become strained in recent years and things like this do very little to improve the situation.”

National 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.”

According to the Telegraph, a police force reserve would operate along similar lines to the armed forces reserve with recruits being called upon in times of increased demand to support regular officers.

The paper says the Government is planning 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.