‘We need Government investment, not a reserve police force’

Gwent Police Federation has urged the Government to address its members’ concerns before unveiling proposals for new policies after leaked documents revealed ministers were considering establishing a reservist police force.

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.

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 the plans failed to tackle the real issues faced by policing and called for proper investment in the service.

Gwent branch chair Steve Thorpe said: “Our members want proper, workable solutions to the issues they face rather than rushed and ill thought-out policies such as this one.

“The Government should make things like officer pay, recruitment and retention its priority when it comes to policing and that requires genuine investment across the service.

“That would send out a signal that our members’ concerns were being taken seriously and it would also help restore some of trust that has been lost over the years.

“The Police Federation wants the Government to commit to bringing in measures which will lead to real improvements across policing but so far we haven’t seen much to inspire confidence.”

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.