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Mrs Theresa May - Home Office

The Government consulted in September 2015 on a series of reforms to enhance the powers of designated police staff and, for the first time, enable volunteers to be designated with powers without taking on the office of Special Constable. We also proposed that, for the first time, a single piece of legislation should set out the core list of powers available only to those that hold the office of constable.

As I said when I launched the consultation in September, the office of constable is central to the delivery of policing in England and Wales. But I was equally clear that we needed to explore whether police staff and volunteers could play a key role in helping officers to police our communities, bringing new skills and expertise, and freeing up police officers to concentrate on the core policing task that most requires their particular powers and experience.

Today I am announcing the Governments consultation response, which sets out the key themes highlighted in the consultation and our response to the issues raised. We received 150 responses from a wide range of representative bodies and individuals, from members of police forces, existing police staff and volunteers and from the wider public.

The majority of the responses were supportive of all our proposed reforms and were clear that there is indeed a role for police staff and volunteers, provided of course that they are appropriately selected, trained and accountable for the role that they undertake.

The vast majority of responses (86%) agreed with the principal proposal to give chief officers a greater level of control over the designation of powers on their staff. 67% of responses agreed that chief officers should be able to designate powers on volunteers.

The proposal to create a list of powers exercisable only by police officers was very well received, with 92.5% of respondents welcoming this. The content of that list, as set out in the consultation document, was also well received, with few proposals to add to the list and none to subtract from it. We have accepted the suggestion from the Police Federation of England and Wales to add the power to conduct intimate searches to this list.

Given the majority of respondents welcomed all of the proposals, with the caveats in some areas as summarised above, we intend to legislate in the forthcoming Policing and Crime Bill to give effect to the proposals consulted on, with the small number of changes set out in the consultation response which has been published today.


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