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Title: The role of the Special Constabulary within contemporary policing : a qualitative study into the role and use of Special Constables during a period of fiscal constraint and organisational adaptation
Author: Frayling, A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 5713
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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The central contention of this thesis is that the recent budgetary cuts and associated developments within policing in the UK challenge the historically voluntary nature of the Special Constabulary. This thesis developed the existing literature which has focused almost exclusively upon the regular paid police officers engagement with the policing frontline by the extensive examination of Special Constabulary recruitment, retention, training, duties and deployments, leadership, relationship with paid officers and changes associated with the budgetary cuts. The role of citizens within policing is nothing new; however recent economic necessity and paid workforce reductions mean the use of unpaid volunteers in providing policing services has substantially increased and has been widely promoted by police leadership and government. Drawing upon numerous semi-structured interviews with serving members of the Special Constabulary across four police forces within England and Wales; members of three Police and Crime Commissions, representatives of the National Crime Agency, the South West Police Federation, the Home Office, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabularies and high ranking paid police officers, this thesis highlights how the role of the Special Constabulary has changed substantially in the last eight years. The interplay between police leadership and Government messages of the Special Constabulary being a supplementary rather than replacement force, the everyday operational accounts of Special Constables are in stark contrast. Increasingly used as frontline response officers without adequate training or supervision, this raises critical debate about the position of police as policing experts, when unpaid, volunteers with limited training are fulfilling the same role. To use a voluntary force in a reservist capacity amounts to a misuse of these volunteers with inherent risks and vulnerabilities being exposed. This thesis concludes by critically exploring the future of this voluntary police workforce in the context of profound and ongoing organisational reforms.
Supervisor: McEwan, J. ; Tamblyn, N. ; Edward, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Special Constabulary ; Policing ; Volunteers