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Northumbria PCC’s response to ministerial statement on police reform

10th September 2015

Today the Home Office issued a consultation on ‘Reforming the Powers of Police Staff and Volunteers’.  The paper explores options for the way Chief Officers designate the powers and roles of police staff and volunteers.

The proposals included in the consultation are:

  • to enable chief officers to designate a wider range of police powers on staff and volunteers
  • to create a list of ‘core’ police powers that would remain exclusive to police officers
  • to take an order-making power to enable Parliament to add to the list of those ‘core’ powers;
  • to enable volunteers to be designated with powers in the same way as staff;
  • to adopt new titles for the changed support role and the new volunteer role;
  • to abolish the office of traffic warden under the Roads Traffic Acts.

Responding to the consultation, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “Firstly, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the Home Office’s consultation on reforming the Powers of Police Staff and Volunteers. Volunteers provide great support to out officers for which we are very but grateful. That said, we must remember volunteers are there to volunteer. They kindly give up their time to policing, bringing their own skills and experiences from a range of backgrounds.  They do not however, in the majority of cases, have the training and experience under their belts that makes them best placed to fight crime and ensure our communities are safe, nor should this responsibility be expected of them to appease government cuts and to cover up the increasing demand being placed on our stretched forces. The fact remains the same – we need fully trained officers on our streets doing their job to tackle crime – backed up by experienced civilan staff.

“I am in absolute agreement that a single list of ‘core’ powers need to remain exclusive to police officers who have spent years training and building on their experience to offer the best policing service to our communities. There are some lengthy conversations needed around what this list of powers to ensure they truly reflect the needs and requirements of modern day policing.”