After something of a struggle, Conservative-run Southampton City Council is going ahead with a 100% Council Tax rebate for Special Constables. These are police officers who work unpaid a minimum of 25 hours a month.
Police chiefs in Southampton were enthusiastic about the plan but the Chief Constable of Hampshire, Alex Marshall, had reservations. If the Special Constables in Southampton get the discount, hen shouldn't the Special Constables in the rest of Hampshire? They should. But that is a decision for the other councils. It is not a reason to stop Southampton going ahead. Anyway, the scheme can now go ahead as the Hampshire Constabulary has agreed to supply Southampton Council with the names of any Special Constables who would like to receive the 100% discount. (Which I suspect will be most of them, don't you?)
The interesting point will be how many more Special Constables are recruited as a result of this incentive. At the moment Southampton has 65. They are hoping perhaps another 25-50 will join.
Part of reason for the delay has been obstruction by Labour councillors on the Hampshire Police Authority. Their Chairman is Councillor Jacqui Rayment, a Labour councillor in Southampton, who has been in trouble before. "We are not trying to be awkward," she says. But they have been awkward. They have caused needless delay to a scheme that will make Southampton a safer city.