Number of volunteer police in Hackney drops by half
PUBLISHED: 18:31 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 15:56 14 March 2016
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The number of people volunteering as special police constables in Hackney has dropped by half in the last four years, new figures show.
The “concerning” new statistics reveal there are now just 80 constables – who have all the powers of police officers – in the borough, a 49 per cent drop from the 157 on the streets in May 2012.
That same month a recently re-elected Boris Johnson said he would double the amount of volunteers in London to 10,000 in his second term as Mayor.
On top of that, the number of uniformed officers – which includes Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) – has been slashed as the Met looks to make monumental cuts of £1.4bn by 2020.
In May 2010 there were 780 police officers and 119 PCSOs on the borough’s streets. As of December, there are 592 and 34 – a combined decline of 30pc.
Labour London Assembly Member for Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest, Jennette Arnold OBE, questioned whether the cuts were putting people off signing up to the force.
She said: “At this rate Boris may well have less than half of the specials he started with by the time he leaves office.
“With PCSO and police officer numbers also in decline, the falling number of specials should be of real concern.
“Boris should be asking why the Met is failing to attract enough people – is it because the opportunities are not well enough advertised or is the increasing pressure facing the police putting people off?”
The Met says 30pc of specials have left to become full-time officers, but is reviewing its recruitment procedures.
Cdr Lucy D’Orsi, of the Territorial Policing unit, said: “A broader approach to using volunteers to support the MPS is being adopted and their overall number continues to grow. Today London has 4,633 Cadets, a number which has doubled since 2013.
“We recognise the volunteering sector is more competitive than it has ever been. We are considering how to make the recruitment, training and role of MSC officers more flexible and attractive in order to increase recruitment and retention. We have already reduced the recruitment timeframe.”