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5 June 2018, 09:41 | Updated: 5 June 2018, 09:44
Witham Town Council has become the first local authority to fund its own volunteer police officers as part of Essex Police’s Community Specials scheme.
Under the scheme, the council will fund the expenses of three volunteer police officers who will be designated to the town.
The launch also coincides with the National Volunteers’ Week.
After working closely with Witham Town Council over a number of months, the Specials started their first shifts as Community Specials yesterday (Monday) during the National Volunteers’ Week after an event at the Town Hall in Witham.
They will each volunteer a minimum of 16 hours each month in Witham to target and disrupt anti-social behaviour, respond to community concerns and carry out high visibility foot patrols in the town. The Specials have the same full policing powers and uniform as regular police officers.
Witham Town Council will fund any expenses the Specials require to carry out their duties in the town and the scheme forms part of the council’s plans to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Supt Simon Anslow, lead for the Special Constabulary said: “This is an exciting new initiative for us that with the support of Witham Town Council gives an opportunity to increase our visible presence, putting Special Constables into this local area to tackle the issues that matter most to this community. The officers we’re deploying as Community Specials are really committed to Witham and look forward to being seen out and about in the town over the coming weeks and months.”
Witham Town Councillor, Rob Williams, Chair of Community Committee said: “I am delighted that this initiative from Witham Town Council has come to pass. The reality of having visible, local policing for Witham is something that we have been actively driving towards for some time. We look forward to assisting our Specials in their role within our community.”
Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “We know that safe and secure communities are the bedrock on which we build wellbeing and prosperity for all. This initiative is a great example of how by working together with local parish and town councils we can help communities keep safe.
“These fully warranted roles will also provide local people with the opportunity to make a huge contribution to the communities in which they live. It’s really positive that Witham Parish Council has taken up this opportunity and I’m looking forward to seeing it work in action. The public want more local, visible and accessible policing and this will make a big difference to the people of Witham.”