25 March 2021
The progress through Parliament of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last week means Gwent Special Constables should soon be able to enjoy the benefits of Police Federation membership.
The bill passed its second reading on 16 March after a decade of the Federation campaigning for Specials to have access its support and advice.
The chair of Gwent Police Federation, Steve Thorpe, described the bill as ‘long overdue good news’ for Special Constables.
He said: “We have been campaigning for a decade for our Specials to be able to join the Federation so this is long overdue good news that will make a huge difference to them.
“Special Constables support policing as unpaid volunteers, facing the same risks and challenges while protecting communities, including during the pandemic when their contribution was invaluable.
“This bill should mean we can now formally support Specials them should we need to. It is also indicative of the value that Specials have to forces. They deserve to have our backing and support and we look forward to welcoming them as members.”
Joining more than 130,000 regular constables, sergeants, inspectors and chief inspectors as Federation members, Specials will be able to receive support and advice from elected workplace reps and will also be able to call on expert advice and representation during performance and misconduct proceedings.
This will form part of the support package to ensure they know their rights and entitlements and means they will receive the right support if any workplace issues are encountered.
As Federation members, Specials will for also the first time be able to apply for legal assistance in criminal, conduct and civil cases as well as gaining access to Member Service offers.
The national Federation’s Special Constabulary lead Dave Bamber continued: ““Nobody has ever really fully represented the Special Constabulary regarding regulations or formal negotiations. Nobody has been on the side of Specials during conversations with key decision-makers - and now the Federation will be. It is a really proud moment for the Federation and a historic move.
“It is only right Specials receive the same legal protections, support with workplace grievances and negotiations over conditions as their regular counterparts.”
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is expected to continue to progress through Parliament before becoming law later this year.