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Candidate pledges to recruit police specials

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 29, 2012

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Two hundred new special constables could be recruited to the ranks of Devon and Cornwall Police under proposals by the Conservative's police and crime commissioner candidate.

Former Royal Navy commander Tony Hogg, from Helston in West Cornwall, said he would look to increase the number of specials from 600 to 800, if elected on November 15.

Mr Hogg, the former commanding officer at RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall, also pledged to increase the incentives on offer and called on Devon and Cornwall to follow the example of the force in Hull, where specials are offered a discount on their council tax bills.

"Special constables are good for the community and good for the police force and we need to value the great contribution they make," Mr Hogg told the Western Morning News.

"I would like to see many more special constables serving in Devon and Cornwall and would seek to improve the incentives for joining, such as securing discounts from their council tax bills."

Special constables, volunteers who have the powers of full-time officers, serve for a minimum of 16 hours a month. They receive an subsistence allowance of £9.61 per shift whereas specials in other force areas receive significantly greater incentives, including free travel on public transport from the Metropolitan Police.

"In such a large force area specials can play a big part in increasing visible policing," Mr Hogg added.

"The incentives at the moment can amount to less than £20 a month but, if elected, I will seek to increase this and learn from other forces to offer the sort of deal, such as a council tax discount, that truly reflects the fantastic commitment these officers give."

Mr Hogg is one of ten candidates standing for election next month in what has been billed as a landmark moment in local policing.

The Government introduced the new £85,000-a-year post, which will replace the current police authority, to increase democracy and accountability at force level.

The new commissioner in Devon and Cornwall will take over at a time when the force is in the midst of making £50 million cuts by 2015 which will see officer numbers drop from 3,500 to 2,810.

Hundreds of civilian support staff are also losing their jobs.

The first few months in the post are likely to be a tough baptism for the commissioner who will be in charge of setting the strategic vision for the force although operational policing will remain in the hands of the chief constable.

Among the key decisions they face is setting council tax bills, amid warnings that accepting the Government's freeze deal could leave a budget shortfall of £1.6 million, and appointing a permanent chief constable.

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