Fast track veterans into policing to get more bobbies on the beat

13 Apr 2018

Maurice Corrie

People who are on the verge of leaving the armed forces should be fast-tracked into the police to help address shortages on the ground, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

The party’s veterans spokesman Maurice Corry called for a trial to be conducted near areas which had large military communities.

The proposal would involve veterans joining Police Scotland initially as special constables, with further opportunities for promotion examined thereafter.

He said this would not only help increase policing staff across the country, but also provide an opportunity for people leaving the army, air force or navy, helping them integrate back into more traditional workforce environments.

Mr Corry, who originally examined the possibility as a councillor in Helensburgh, which is near the Faslane base, said the idea had previously been warmly received by both veterans and police.

He will now prepare a formal proposal on how the plan can be taken forward.

The Scottish Conservatives revealed last month how the number of special constables in Scotland has more than halved since 2013.

Research found the numbers reduced in that timeframe from 1387 to 610.

Special constables act in a voluntary and generally part-time role, although expenses are also provided to those who participate.

Scottish Conservative veterans spokesman Maurice Corry said:

“This proposal would address two issues of huge importance.

“It would help boost the number of special constables, which has more than halved in the last five years.

“But it would also provide a vital transitional link for people leaving the armed forces and contemplating their next move in life.

“These people will be fit, active and value the idea of uniformity and being involved to help the public good, and that’s something we should make use of.

“They have families and friends in the area they’ve served, and want a reason to remain.

“By being involved in the police it would retain some of the familiarity of the life they’ve had over the past number of years, while also acting as a bridge to whatever career path they subsequently take.

“I believe a trial could be launched in any area where there’s a strong military veteran presence, from Helensburgh to Moray.

“The idea’s been warmly received in the past from both veterans and the police, and it’s something I now intend to pursue again.”