Lincolnshire County Council agrees to tax discount for special constables
Special constables will be given a discount on their council tax bills as a reward for serving their community under a scheme put forward by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
Today (Friday, February 19) Lincolnshire County Council agreed to a 25 per cent discount on council tax bills for special constables. It comes after South Kesteven District Council also supported the move, following a U-turn.
PCC Marc Jones proposed the measure as both a “thank you” to existing officers and an incentive for recruitment of new specials.
Special constables carry out around 50,000 hours of unpaid work across the county every year and have the same powers, the same uniform, and the same equipment as a regular officer.
They are the only statutorily appointed and regulated volunteers who are unpaid. The others - Armed Forces reservists and retained firefighters – are both rewarded financially for carrying out the role.
There are currently 132 specials working for Lincolnshire Police. Of those, 118 live in Lincolnshire and are eligible for the scheme.
Mr Jones asked all councils across Lincolnshire – including the county and seven district and city councils – to support the scheme by offering a 25 per cent discount on council tax bills.
Lincolnshire County Council, and South Kesteven and South Holland District Councils, have all supported the scheme.
That means that in two districts serving specials will receive a 25 per cent discount on the full bill.
In the other areas specials will still receive the discount but it will only be applied to the county and policing elements of their bill – which makes up some 90 per cent of the total.
Specials receiving the discount will need to pass certain eligibility criteria including carrying out a minimum 16 hours duty per month.
PCC Marc Jones welcomed the support of the councils that backed the scheme and said specials deserve recognition for the services they perform.
“Special constables undertake the full range of duties and put their life, physical and mental wellbeing on the line to protect our residents.
“They are the only statutory volunteers who are completely unpaid and it’s absolutely right that their dedication and commitment is rewarded. Frankly it’s the least we can do.
“Our communities will be even safer if we can retain them for longer, support them to work additional hours and attract more people to join their ranks.”
County council leader Martin Hill (Con) said: “Councils have a statutory duty to deliver community safety and this is a very positive way to recognise the contribution of specials who are often the eyes and ears of our rural county.
“At the same time it will raise the profile of the role and we hope to see many more specials patrolling out towns and villages alongside the regulars in the months and years to come. Maintaining and increasing a policing presence in every community in Lincolnshire is something I fully support.”