Reader’s Letter: Sound familiar?

WOW! What a fantastic and innovative idea! Bassetlaw Council joining with Notts Police to recruit Special Constables – whatever next? (Guardian 14th February, page four).

Does it sound familiar? It should do, I started it years ago. Yes, when I was Portfolio Holder responsible for Community Safety on Bassetlaw District Council, I introduced a scheme, in close co-operation with Notts Police, to recruit Special Constables from Bassetlaw Council staff and staff from local businesses to patrol the town centres.

Employers agreed to release staff for a couple of hours a week during work time, as their contribution to preserve the safety of the general community. Once they became Specials they also had to perform additional ordinary duties in their own time of course.

What a pity that the Labour Group, then in opposition, failed to support the scheme!

However, no sour grapes, and I wish the scheme well and support it wholeheartedly. Bassetlaw NEEDS more WARRANTED officers out on the streets. (Special Constables ARE fully warranted and trained Police Officers). As good, nice and hardworking as PCSOs are they are no substitute for officers with all the powers required to protect the public. They can’t give the reassurance that officers who are capable of making arrests or ‘booking’ offenders can give. Whatever we are told about there only being a fear of crime as opposed to actual crime the presence of warranted officers is a great comfort to many, many people. With more officers available there would be more REPORTED crime because there would be someone to tell.

In my days as a police officer, many Specials were given authorisation to use their own cars to assist their patrolling when on duty; perhaps if that could happen now officers wouldn’t have to travel from Worksop to Carlton, Langold and Blyth by bus!

Yes, the scheme that I introduced was successful, especially for the police - almost every officer who was sworn in liked it so much that they joined the regular force (not necessarily Nottinghamshire though).

Cllr Barry Bowles

Blyth Ward