Volunteer police award cuts are mean-spirited

Scottish Liberal Democrat Justice spokesperson Alison McInnes has branded Police Scotland as “mean-spirited” after it has emerged that they are slashing the money they make available to Special Constables.

A leaked email has revealed that Police Chiefs plan to halve the recognition award paid to Special Constables – and scrap it altogether for new recruits.

Calling for the decision to be reversed, Ms McInnes said:

“The Government forced through their police reforms claiming they Alison McInnesAlison McInneswould save millions of pounds. Now it seems that police chiefs are trying to make some of those savings through an attack on those who give up their own free time to help the force.

“Special Constables are vital to the way our police work. They are volunteers, giving up their own time to work alongside full-time officers. They bring their own particular skills and expertise, and they bring a wealth of local knowledge. In our newly centralised force, that local knowledge is more vital than ever.

“People don’t become Special Constables for the money, they do it because they want to make a difference in their local communities. But taking what is a relatively small sum away will mean that many will have to reconsider whether they can afford to make that commitment.

“Removing the recognition award will do serious damage to the range of people the police can attract. Many Special Constables will incur expenses as a result of the time they volunteer – whether that be through taking time away from their businesses or parents who need to pay for childcare when they’re on duty.

“This is nothing more than mean-spirited penny-pinching. Those responsible should take a long, hard look at their priorities for policing. They need to think again about making this shameful cut.

“Special Constables are a hugely valuable resource for the police up and down the country. It’s a pity that the decision-makers in the new force don’t seem to realize their worth.”