Nottinghamshire Police Federation branch secretary Tom Hill is appealing for the Force and Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) to agree to cover the Federation subscriptions of its Specials.

Since the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act came into law in June, Specials have been eligible to join the Police Federation. Many forces have already committed to funding their Federation membership.

The change in the law came about after successfully lobbying of Parliament by the Federation regionally and nationally, recognising that Special Constables are exposed to the same risks as regular officers, including vexatious complaints, and need access to the support and representation that the Federation provides regular officers.

Tom said: “In total last year the 163 Specials in Notts contributed an incredible 43,000 hours of voluntary service providing support for colleagues and protection for the public. There’s no doubt we would be far more limited in the service we provide the public if not for their valuable contributions – all of it unpaid.

“So, it’s disappointing that their vital contribution is not being recognised with an offer of paying for their membership. I would urge the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner to do the right thing and cover their subs. It shouldn’t be the case that Specials are working for free and having to pay their own subs as well.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) announced in September last year that the expenses would be redeemable and issued detailed guidance for chief constables.

Dave Bamber, who leads for the national Federation on Specials, added: “It is disappointing that many forces are still discussing how to do it when time is running out fast. Specials play a dangerous and difficult role in society, and they need support in the workplace. Their membership will ensure they are treated fairly and not disadvantaged; the Federation will be there to offer that support.

“We do not think Special Constables should pay to protect themselves given that they are volunteers. They need to be supported by their forces.”

Tom says the Federation will continue to liaise with the Chief Constable and the PCC to find a way forward.

Latest statistics released by the Home Office earlier this week revealed there were 8,545 Specials in the forces of England and Wales at the end of March 2022.