National statistics are published annually showing the numbers of Special Constables in each force. These numbers have been declining consistently now for a number of years, which is of considerable concern to ASCO. We provide an analysis of the current picture based on the national published statistics, and some observations on the policy implications for the future of the Special Constabulary.

Not enough Special Constables are being recruited and trained to retain numbers. We believe as ASCO that there is a need for a concerted national plan and investment to help forces increase their capacity to recruit and train new Special Constables, particularly in the context of the national Uplift programme of recruitment of increased recruitment to the regular service. We welcome the recent developments of a new programme to focus on this at national level. Urgent attention should also be given to those forces which presently have freezes on recruitment, as these very quickly see numbers fall dramatically. The statistics reflect a need to recruit and retain more ‘career’ Special Constables, which ASCO supports, and also highlight the need to further enhance diversity across the Special Constabulary.