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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 April, 2004, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
Payment for special constables
Police at work in city centre
Specials provide valuable help for full-time officers
Special constables in Scotland are to be paid for the first time.

The reward scheme for the part-time officers amounts to 1,000 annually after tax and is being piloted in Grampian and Tayside for 12 months.

Ministers will then decide if the payments will be offered to all 1,100 special constables in the eight forces across the country.

Although some forces in England and Wales have trialled payments, specials in Scotland have never been paid.

Forces north of the border need an extra 500 specials over the next three years.

It is hoped the payments will encourage recruitment and help to retain existing officers.

Assistant Chief Constable of Grampian Police, Pat Shearer, said: "When we look at the figures over the years, they've declined quite dramatically, particularly in the last 10 years.

Amanda Dickson
It's a good measure, it's a positive step
Amanda Dickson
Special constable
"It's one of a range of approaches we are developing to see if we can attract more and retain those that we do recruit."

The pilot scheme is being funded by the Scottish Executive.

Amanda Dickson, a special constable with Grampian Police, said: "It's a big thank you that they are giving the specials for the work commitment that we're doing, for the time we're away from our families as well.

"It's a good measure, it's a positive step."

So far, 165 officers have signed up to the scheme in Grampian and Tayside.

The executive will decide if payments are to be introduced elsewhere after the 12 month trial.

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