Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire’s new police and crime commissioner, made a personal visit to Marlborough today (Wednesday) to congratulate the force’s very own very special constable Mike Tupman on being awarded the MBE.
Mike, now 70, has served for 28 years as a Special Constable in Marlborough, his immaculate service beyond the customary retirement age earned him his New Year honour.
And Mr Macpherson told him: “I think your achievement is marvellous. Your long service as a special constable is an excellent example to others. I think the special constabulary has got a lot to offer provided it is properly directed, supported, loved, honoured and cherished.”
And the commissioner revealed that part of his future policing plan is to more than double the number of special constables serving in the county.
“At the moment we have something like 120 specials,” he told Marlborough News Online. “I will be looking for 300 altogether, perhaps even more over time.
“There’s so much they can do. In a rural county like Wiltshire you don’t need a standing army all the time. But you do need people who can cover the ground and be visible to the public on the street.”
Greeting the commissioner, Mike – see An MBE for Marlborough’s carry on regardless special constable – revealed that they had met before when Mr Macpherson served on the Wiltshire police authority.
“The last time you said, ‘I have all round the market towns in Wiltshire and you’re the first police uniform I’ve seen out on patrol,’” Mike recalled.
He pointed out that while police training for members of the Special Constabulary was exemplary, there was always the danger of volunteers dropping out because of the time commitment and dedication that was essential.
“People’s lives change too and there come times when they want to move on,” he added.
Mr Macpherson said he realised that to reach a target figure of 300 special constables might mean finding “an awful lot of people,” and added: “We shall lose some on the way, but it is well worth doing if we can increase their numbers in the end.
|A probe into police moonlighting for Wiltshire’s new Chief Constable?|
As the appointment of a new Chief Constable for Wiltshire is awaited next week – there are four candidates on the short list — Police Commissioner Macpherson revealed he was unaware of evidence of thousands of policemen and women now moonlighting.
National press reports have revealed that one in 10 officers in England and Wales – a total of 23,043 officers — earns a second income from non-police work. And the jobs they have undertaken have included undertaker, ski instructor, ice cream salesman and even as a medium.
“You need to have the Chief Constable’s permission to have a second job,” Mr Macpherson told Marlborough News Online. “I am not aware how many officers in Wiltshire have got it.
“But if it proves to be an issue in Wiltshire, then the new Chief Constable, he or she, will have to take a look at the situation.”