Greater Manchester’s Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner has praised the role of police volunteers but warns they are not a replacement for police officers.
Jim Battle was speaking as the Home Office mooted proposals to give unpaid police volunteers more powers, including ability to issue on-the-spot fines, detain and search suspects and seize drugs and alcohol from young people.
Mr Battle said: “There is of course a big role for volunteers in local policing. In Greater Manchester we have an army of people all giving up their own time to make a difference in their communities, from Home Watch organisers, Street Angels and Pastors keeping people safe on a night out to Special Constables and police volunteers. The work they do is invaluable, but they do this with the support of police officers and PCSOs – they are not a replacement for them.
“I strongly believe that the role of volunteers working with police to keep us safe should be fully recognised. But I think most people will see these plans for what they are - a smokescreen to try and hide the real and lasting damage the Government is dong to British policing. Theresa May has to wake up from her fantasy and realise that policing needs to be properly funded.”