Mayor delivers council tax cut for special constables in London

19 February 2015

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today confirmed that all serving special constables who live in the capital will be eligible for a £150 council tax cut, as he delivers on his pledge to reward those uniformed volunteers who support policing.

The Mayor of London committed in his Police & Crime Plan to reconnect the police with the public by boosting volunteering and rewarding those who offer their time in service. This follows his 2012 manifesto pledge to offer special constables a 50 per cent rebate on the Mayor’s share of council tax.

In a letter sent today to all 4,000 specials in London, the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, sets out the details of the scheme and how to apply. The new scheme is the first of its kind in London and has been designed by the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) and the Greater London Authority.

The payment – which is worth up to £450 to those special constables who already have three years’ service – will apply to all those who have completed their minimum monthly service of 16 hours and who live in a London household that pays council tax. The payment also applies to specials living in London serving with the British Transport Police and City of London Police.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “My manifesto promised a council tax discount for special constables and this payment delivers on that pledge. Special constables are a vital link between the police and the community whilst representing the very best of London’s volunteering spirit. This payment goes some way to recognise the huge contribution that specials make to keep our city safe.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said: “Special constables will continue to volunteer, unpaid, in support of regular Met police officers, but we hope this council tax rebate demonstrates how the Mayor values their efforts. I especially enjoyed observing their contribution up close on the recent Big Wing Day involving Specials across London. We want many more people with diverse backgrounds and expert skills to step forward to support the police as volunteers, and I am delighted that members of our Special Constabulary are now getting the recognition they deserve.”

John Conway, chief officer of Met Special Constables, said: "The MPS welcomes this new initiative from MOPAC and believes it will act as a positive incentive to encourage more new specials to join the Met. Special constables are a vital and valued part of the wider Met family, giving up their own time and contributing valuable professional skills in order to help provide a high quality of policing services to the public and their communities. We will be encouraging all those existing and new specials who qualify for the rebate to apply for it."

Notes to editors

1. The Special Constabulary is the United Kingdom's part-time police force. It is made up of volunteer members of the public who when on duty wear a uniform and have full police powers. There are now nearly 4,000 and an additional 300 serving in either the BTP, or City of London Police in the capital.

2. To be eligible for the MOPAC scheme, a special constable must be in good standing (contributing 16 hours service or more a month); not under any disciplinary action; a resident in a London borough or the City of London; and live in a household which is liable for council tax. The scheme comes into effect on 1 April and will in effect offer a payment of £150 to qualifying special constables.

3. The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) has consulted with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in order to accommodate and mitigate the potential tax implications that arise as a consequence of this payment. MOPAC, on behalf of the Mayor, will pay the tax due on this payment.

4. Special constables who wish to apply should follow instructions in the letter and this year’s scheme is open to applications until 20 March 2015.