Cllr Alison Foster has welcomed the news that Special Constables will be allocated to specific villages in Bedfordshire.
In December last year, Cllr Foster outlined at a meeting of Bedford Borough Council her view that Bedfordshire Police should follow the lead of Northamptonshire Police in adopting ‘Parish Special Constables’. This scheme has, since early 2015, seen Special Constables serve communities in Northamptonshire without being redeployed to deal with other policing pressures.
Cllr Foster set out how ‘Parish’ or ‘Community’ Special Constables would provide a low-cost, effective boost both to urban and rural areas where there are concerns of a lack of police visibility. Special Constables are volunteer officers but have the same powers as Police Constables, such as the power of arrest, to issue fines and stop speeding vehicles.
Her proposal received the unanimous backing of her fellow councillors and the suggestion was made formally to the Police and Crime Commissioner who has now agreed to implement the scheme. Cllr Foster said:
‘I am delighted that Parish Special Constables will be adopted by Bedfordshire Police. This scheme has been very successful in Northamptonshire and was the basis of my suggestion to the Police and Crime Commissioner last year that it should be implemented in Bedfordshire.
‘Parish Special Constables will be extremely valued in providing reassurance to rural communities. They will increase police visibility and have the ability to deal with issues such as illegal parking and anti-social behaviour which are now further down the list of policing priorities.’