Volunteers are to be deployed as counter-terror officers in a controversial new scheme which has prompted accusations of policing on the cheap.
Twenty Special Constables will work with Scotland Yard’s elite SO15 unit – just one of dozens of examples uncovered by The Mail on Sunday of unpaid personnel being recruited.
The counter-terror volunteers will help with major incident investigations and also on the highly sensitive Prevent scheme, which combats radicalisation. Other law-and-order projects – most of which are funded by the Home Office – involving members of the public include:
Prostitutes being ‘engaged as volunteers’ to provide safety advice to other sex workers;
Criminals, bankrupts and those who have committed ‘military misdemeanours’ being allowed to help out police forces;
Children joining uniformed ‘Mini Police’ teams to spot speeding motorists and look out for yobs;
Dog walkers and cyclists ‘gathering intelligence’ for police.
The revelations come after this newspaper revealed last month how a ‘Dad’s Army’ of unpaid border guards will be used to monitor marinas, harbours and airfields.
Critics say that the growing number of volunteers is simply an attempt to disguise huge cuts to police strength. The number of frontline officers is at its lowest level in 30 years, despite rising crime.
Official figures show there are currently about 38,000 volunteers in policing, including 11,000 teenage cadets and 16,000 Special Constables, who are unpaid and work part-time but have full policing powers.'
Read more: Terror bobbies on the CHEAP: Volunteers will be used to take on jihadis in just one of the controversial new plans to deploy the public on the crime-fighting beat