Next, we need to create a new Police Reserve similar to the retained firefighters or Territorial Army. This would include the existing 18,421 special constables, and other public-spirited individuals, who would be paid for serving a minimum number of days per month. This reward – in cash or as a council tax rebate – could mirror that of retained firefighters, most of whom receive up to £2,821 a year, and an additional call-out fee of up to £12.88 per hour. Last year, the country employed 29,735 full-time firefighters and 11,899 auxiliaries – yet the auxiliaries cost only £130 million, out of a total cost of £1.64 billion.
One of the main attractions of a Police Reserve is that it would attract those with specialised skills: accountants could go into fraud squads, as special constables have in the City of London; telephone engineers and IT consultants in to cyber-crime units. Reservists could bolster neighbourhood policing teams, and provide the boots on the ground that will be needed in the event of more riots, and for the London Olympics. Crucially, this would make the police more representative of the public, giving new meaning to Peel’s dictum that “the police are the public and the public are the police”.This is the sensible way not only to 'dilute' a growing cop-culture that is dividing the police from the rest of us - and costing them vital public support - but ensure that police remain local and not the State's private army.