September 10, 2021 2.28 pm This story is over 26 months old

“Frustrating” delays in Lincolnshire special constable council tax discount plans

‘It’s a little gesture to help them with out of pocket expenses’

Plans to give unpaid special constables a 25% council tax discount have faced “frustrating” delays, Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has confirmed.

Marc Jones was responding to questions at the Lincolnshire Police and Crime Panel on Friday when he revealed discussions had proven more difficult than he originally thought.

Councillor Phil Dilks, from South Kesteven District Council, said officers at his authority had said the force had yet to “articulate how they wish the scheme to work”, however, Mr Jones said the delays were not down to officers “not wanting to get on with it”.

He said: “What I believed was a clear agreed position by all hasn’t ended up being an agreed position.

“Some councils felt they didn’t want to contribute, which was unfortunate given that it was a matter of a few hundred pounds for their district. That is a matter for local members and I respect that but some areas are unwilling to then administer the scheme on behalf of others.”

“We’ve had some challenges with that, and by no means am I saying that’s universally the issue but you can imagine that’s a frustrating issue.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. | Photo: Daniel Jaines

Mr Jones thanked South Holland and South Kesteven District Councils for being “100% in support of this”, adding: “If push comes to shove what we might have to do is introduce it in the two district areas that are prepared to be on board and then hope that in future years we can work with partners to increase it.”

He said in other areas, including Humberside, the scheme had brought an increase in the number of special constables.

Councillors at the meeting said they would take the issue back to their respective authorities.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Jones told Local Democracy Reporters: “People who volunteer as special constables clearly don’t do it for money, because there is no money attached to it. They do it because of their civic duty and pride and that is to be commended.”

He said the discount recognised the work they did.

“We’re only talking 25%, it’s just a little gesture to help them with some of those out of pocket expenses,” he said.