Town at heart of specials plan

Special Constables out on the beat
Special Constables out on the beat

Leighton Buzzard will be at the centre of plans to boost the the number of volunteer police officers to a force of 500, the LBO can confirm.

Currently there are 17 members of the special constabulary based at the town’s police station, which was opened as an operating base for them in August.

Over the next two years it is planned that this figure will be upped to 50 to further assist policing across Leighton.

Special constables share the same powers as regular police officers but volunteer their time to the force.

They are required to commit to 16 hours a month.

Sgt Andy Rivers told the LBO that the specials already in place in Leighton had provided vital support.

He said: “It is good to have police officers on hand as PCSOs can only do so much. I’m getting good support from them. Usually they are on targeted patrols, for instance if there is an area which is being hit by house burglaries.

“A couple of weeks ago the specials executed a drugs warrant in Eaton Bray, where someone was arrested.

“A small amount of cannabis was found and disposed of as well.”

Across the county Beds Police is attempting to have more than 500 specials in place by 2017.

The force currently has 222 volunteer officers on its books.

New bases for the volunteer officers are in the pipeline for stations in Houghton Regis and Dunstable.

It is also hoped that the recruitment will boost the force’s representation of black and minority ethnic communities.

PCC Olly Martins said: “Special constables undertake to spend a minimum of 16 hours a month policing the county but it is clear that in Bedfordshire our specials are delivering much more.

“This reflects a similar level of service, dedication and going the extra mile that we see from their regular, full-time counterparts.

“We have found that it is some of the specials recently realigned to local police stations closer to their own communities in places like Leighton Buzzard and Biggleswade that are volunteering the most hours.”

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