The Sunday Express suggests that Council Tax discounts might be offered to Special Constables to boost their numbers. It also indicates the number of PCSOs "plastic policemen" may be cut back due to budgets being squeezed.
The Association of Chief Police Officers have called for the discounts in a submission to the Government.
ACPO is pleased to see the commitment to increase the numbers of both special constables and police volunteers and would like to see Government working with the service to consider how best to incentivise individuals, forces and employers to increase recruitment and retention.
Examples of incentivisation might include enhancing volunteer awards, ranging from certificates and citations up to civic medals that would increase recognition of the importance of volunteering. Other ideas include qualifications, such as the current NVQ Level 2 in Public Services facilitated through local partnerships or financial rewards to employers. One innovative idea would be a reduction in
Council Tax, by offering a rebate for civic work, or an increase in benefits or allowances for those undertaking such work. Likewise, employers might be encouraged to recognise citizen contribution to public safety and service, for example, provision of nationally recognised references in support of voluntary service (e.g. ‘Community Mark’) or tax incentives pro rata for service given.
Southampton has led the way.