Special Constables will be given a discount on their Council Tax bills in recognition of their invaluable service to their community after a proposal from the Police and Crime Commissioner.
PCC Marc Jones proposed the measure as both a “thank you” to existing volunteer officers and an incentive for recruitment of new Specials.
Special Constables carry out around 50,000 hours of unpaid work across the county every year supporting their regular officer colleagues. They hold the same warranted powers, face the same risks and do so often at the end of their working day through the night.
The other comparable volunteer positions are the Armed Forces Reservists and retained firefighters – both of whom are rewarded financially for carrying out their roles.
There are currently 132 Specials working for Lincolnshire Police. Of those 118 live in Lincolnshire and are eligible for the scheme.
Mr Jones asked all councils across Lincolnshire – including the county and seven district and city councils – to support the scheme by offering a 25% discount on Council Tax bills.
Lincolnshire County and South Kesteven and South Holland District Councils supported the scheme – the other districts refused to offer the discount themselves but will be administering the scheme.
That means that in the two supportive districts serving Specials will receive a 25% discount on the full bill. In the other areas Specials will still receive the discount but it will only be applied to the County Council and policing elements of their bill – which makes up some 90%of the total.
Specials receiving the discount will need to pass certain eligibility criteria including carrying out an average minimum 16 hours duty per month over the previous year.
PCC Marc Jones welcomed the support of the councils that backed the scheme and said Specials deserve recognition and support for the services they perform.
“Special Constables undertake the full range of duties and put their life, physical and mental wellbeing on the line to protect our residents. When they attend incidents the public simple think how glad they are that the police have arrived. The distinction between regular and Special would go unnoticed by most of us.
“We have an array of incredible volunteers across our county but the service and dedication of the Specials really does set them apart. It is absolutely right that we recognise that with this small yet important gesture. Frankly it’s the least we can do.
“Our communities will be even safer if we can retain them for longer, support them to work additional hours and attract more people to join their ranks.”
The County Council Leader Martin Hill said: “Councils have a statutory duty to deliver community safety and this is a very positive way to recognise the contribution of Specials who are often the eyes and ears of our rural county.
“At the same time it will raise the profile of the role and we hope to see many more Specials patrolling out towns and villages alongside the regulars in the months and years to come. Maintaining and increasing a policing presence in every community in Lincolnshire is something I fully support.”