Could you live for a day with no pay? How about a week or perhaps a month? What impact would it have upon your life, on your family, on your well being or on your sanity to have absolutely no income for any length of time because of something you did in performing a police duty? What’s the likelihood of being subject of a criminal investigation and facing a lengthy court hearing. Very, very easy, as it happens. Don’t think any of those hypocrites wearing highly polished buttons and insignia will care. Of course, if you are a regular police officer then you have no worries on this account. This is because you are entitled to pay when you work and also under Regulation 10 of the Police (Conduct) Regulations 2008 you are entitled to pay when you are suspended. However, if you are a Special Constable then you are not similarly protected.
This issue has come to the fore following a recent small claims court matter in Greater Manchester where a Special Constable was REFUSED expenses namely subsistence and loss of earnings whilst defending himself at court. It did not matter that he was with two regular officers who were paid their salary and received their allowances for the same period and performing the same duties. Furthermore, don’t think this is an issue involving guilt or innocence. Quite simply, if you are a Special Police Officer then you face a significant financial jeopardy every time you pull on a police uniform. The stupidity of the decision is that if a regular Officer, Special, PCSO, Detention Officer and Civilian Staff member all attended an incident together, everyone would be paid during the investigation and court case EXCEPT the Special! Don’t believe me then ask your Chief Officer of Specials to get in touch with his namesake at GMP!!
It has caused so much angst and anxiety amongst Specials in Greater Manchester that they have been holding meetings in the previous week as they recognise the precarious nature of their duties. The scenario they now face, as do potentially all Specials in this country, is that should they be subject to a complaint of a criminal nature then they would have to defend themselves in their own time or rely upon a benevolent employer to foot the bill in respect of salary or earnings for the Special, entirely due to the fact that the job won’t pay you. So concerned are many that they are considering resigning because of the disadvantage it presents to them when facing ever increasing calls on their time. It is likely that the cost of solicitors and barristers would still be met by the local police authority but attendance at interviews, solicitor and barrister appointments and any attendance at court would not attract any loss of earnings placing the Special at a serious and significant detriment and certainly at odds to the payment of salary to their regular colleagues.
The jeopardy is apparent for Specials, put on your police uniform and you may lose your access to your livelihood for performing exactly the same duties as your regular colleagues. It is up to you whether you believe this or not. Just make sure that you don’t do anything that could possibly mean you end up defending yourself through the criminal or misconduct process because you WON’T be paid loss of earnings whilst everyone else will. At least, if it happens to you, you cannot say you weren’t warned. Special Constables work for nothing and have no representative body to address these potentially life changing financial imbalances as they are not members of the Police Federation. As a Special Constable said to me, “Any Special who goes out performing any duty in this country in uniform thinking he will be protected by the job in the event of an allegation being made must be crazy.”