Council workers in Croydon will soon be pounding the beat as police officers.
Staff are to undergo training by the Metropolitain Police to become special constables as part of the BoroughBeat scheme.
The council cabinet agreed at a meeting last week to provide paid leave for council staff to undergo the four-week training course.When fully trained the council constables will be released by their employer for one day a fortnight. They will provide uniformed patrols in areas of joint importance to the council and police. The special constables will work alongside regular police officers.
Councillor Gavin Barwell, cabinet member for safety and cohesion, said: “The BoroughBeat scheme will directly benefit our residents by putting more police officers on the streets, in the areas where we know they want them, responding to the issues we know they care about.”
Cllr Barwell added: “Special constables have the same powers as full-time police officers, and they often work side by side with experienced officers.
“Residents will benefit from a council where some members of staff are fully trained police officers, with a better understanding of crime issues, and transferable skills to help the community while on the beat, and in their everyday council roles.”
Borough commander Chief Superintendent Adrian Roberts said he was delighted with the council’s decision to sponsor staff to become special constables.
“Police training provides ‘specials’ with some important skills,” Ch Supt Roberts said. “This includes enhancing their communications skills and learning about relevant legislation.”
He continued: “I’m sure that equipping members of council staff with these skills will help to give them extra confidence as they deliver services to residents.
“BoroughBeat has been successful in other areas across the capital and I’m look forward to seeing Croydon reap the benefits of close working relationships between individual police officers and local authority employees.”
The BoroughBeat scheme has been trialled successfully in other London boroughs including Lewisham.