Civilian police scheme branded ‘dangerous’ by Met

Controversial
plans to set up a civilian police force have been attacked by the police
officers’ representative body.

The
Metropolitan Police Federation branded the Scotland Yard proposals for using
auxiliary officers a "dangerous strategy".

They
are concerned about the competence and safety of the civilian officers, who
would be armed with truncheons. Plans for a pilot scheme would see auxiliaries
given a wide range of powers to detain suspects and stop vehicles.

In
what could prove a blueprint for a radical shake-up of policing in England and
Wales, the Metropolitan Police has signalled it wants to recruit 800
auxiliaries to take on community patrol work. It wants them to have the power
to issue fixed penalty notices for disorder, including drunkenness, anti-social
behaviour, aggressive begging and traffic offences.

Under
the proposals, drawn up by the Met’s deputy commissioner Ian Blair, the
auxiliaries, who will have their own distinctive uniform, will also have powers
to stop vehicles and "detain a person suspected of committing an offence
pending the arrival of a police officer". This will require changes to
current legislation.

The
auxiliaries, he said, will be "employed, directed, deployed and controlled
by the Met". They will be separate from local authority wardens, and will
work part or full time, earning up to £17,000pa. They will have two weeks’
training at the Met’s college in Hendon, north London.

Met
Police Federation chairman Glen Smyth said the force should concentrate on
recruiting the 2,500 officers it needs to reach its target strength rather than
pursue schemes for policing on the cheap, reports The Guardian.

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