Cambs Police prepare to increase by a third the number of specials they deploy into the county

UP to 144 new special constables could be recruited in Cambridgeshire between now and March 2012.

The upbeat assessment has been delivered by chief constable Simon Parr to a meeting of the police authority finance and resources committee.

“At a time of reduced resources and increased demand, special constables, when effectively used, bring valued support to the constabulary and our local communities,” he said.

On patrol they deal with crime and disorder and serve “as a highly visible presence which both deters and reassures”.

Mr Parr said the potential 33 per cent increase in special constabulary recruitment included a widening of their role within the police force.

Staff who train regular police officers and PCSOs would be used to help train the higher number of specials, says Mr Parr.

He said the special constabulary is not free and last year it cost �340,000 to recruit, train, equip and cover expenses for 170 special constables. However the investment resulted in around 40,000 hours of duty time and which equates to �1 million of extra police resources.

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Mr Parr believes expanding the number of specials could also help with recruitment of full time officers.

“There is a real benefit in having a large pool of potential recruits who have been trained locally and developed ties with local communities in which they will serve as regular officers,” he says.

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