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Home Office encourages civil servants to volunteer with police

Civil servants who take up the option of volunteering as special constables will get up to 12 days paid special leave a year, in order to spend more time supporting their local police force.

The new Home Office initiative will come into effect for staff across 19 government departments, including the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury.

The announcement of the increased dedicated leave allowance for staff comes as new central guidance is issued to support civil servants wanting to become special constables. For the first time, his new guide sets out all the necessary information over applications, eligibility and roles available in one, easy-to-access location. It also details the support offered by the Civil Service for special constables.

Special leave allowance for employees volunteering as special constables was increased by the Home Office in November 2018, in a move praised by the Metropolitan Police today.

Supporting the volunteering initiative, cabinet secretary Sir Mark Sedwill said: “As public servants, those civil servants who volunteer are citizens who serve twice. We should all be proud of them.

“I hope that colleagues from across the Civil Service will follow the lead of those from the Home Office who’ve become Special Constables - warranted police officers who keep their fellow citizens safe - developing their own skills and leadership too.”

Home Office permanent secretary, Sir Philip Rutnam, added: “Special Constables play a pivotal role in meeting some of our most important priorities – tackling knife crime, safeguarding the vulnerable and keeping the public safe.

“Civil servants who take this opportunity will gain professionally and get an insight into frontline policing, which will be valued across Government.

“I am proud the Home Office is leading the way in supporting civil servants who wish to become Special Constables and make a difference in their communities.”

Special constables wear the same uniform and have the same powers as their regular force colleagues. If permitted by their force, they also operate the same vehicles.

The idea behind incorporating them into police forces is to bring diverse and valuable skills from outside policing, complementing the work of officers while also helping build important relationships within communities.

As at 31 March 2019, there were more than 10,000 special constables in the UK.


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