Auxiliary police, also called special police, are usually the part-time reserves of a regular police force. They may be armed or unarmed. They may be unpaid volunteers or paid members of the police service with which they are affiliated. In most jurisdictions, auxiliary police officers are empowered to make arrests for crimes that occur in their presence.
The Australian Federal Police can appoint Special Members who do not have full police powers. Special Members are generally recruited locally to perform regulatory and administrative duties, but also perform some community policing duties in location such as Norfolk Island, Christmas Island and Jervis Bay Territory.
The Western Australia Police has had auxiliary officers since 2009. The role of Police Auxiliary Officers was inserted into the Police Act 1892 by the Police Amendment Act 2009. They generally perform administrative and other duties which do not require full police powers.
The Northern Territory Police has auxiliary officers who can perform administrative duties and communications, plus duties which may require some expertise but do not require police powers such as search and rescue.
The Victoria Police recruited 3,100 auxiliary police to the Victoria Police Auxiliary Force during World War II to assist regular police in the event of emergencies. The Auxiliary Force was disbanded in 1946. A number of retired police were temporarily formed into a Police Reserve to assist with traffic control during the 1956 Summer Olympics. A permanent Retired Police Reserve was established under the Police Regulation Act 1958, although today is very small in number.
In Canada, many police forces utilize the services of auxiliary constables. Under various provincial policing legislations and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act, the role of auxiliary constable is to assist regular, or sworn, police constables in the execution of their duties, as well as to provide assistance in community policing.
Auxiliary constables in Canada wear uniforms similar to regular force constables. However, most wear the word "auxiliary" on a rocker panel under the force's crest on each arm, and in some cases, wear a red and black checkered head band on their service caps to distinguish them from full-time police. Also, auxiliary constables are usually unarmed, but are trained in firearms. They may, depending on legislation and policies, carry a baton and handcuffs while on duty.
Auxiliary officers are often called upon to assist in such things as large-scale searches for missing persons, to provide crowd control at large-scale events, and often accompany regular force police officers on daily patrols.
The Assistant Police Officer was created in Estonia by the Assistant Police Officer Act, which was adopted by the parliament on April 20, 1994. It provided the rights, duties and activities of the Assistant Police Officer. Assistant police officer is defined by Estonian law as a person who is not a member of the police but who voluntarily participates in police activities in the cases allowed by local laws. At the time of taking part in police activities, the assistant police officer is a government representative.
Initially, each police officer was guided individually by a police officer to whom he was assigned (usually the region constable). Nowadays they are guided by assistant policemen formations managers, who are appointed by the chief of police.
In the Federal Republic of Germany, auxiliary police forces (Freiwilliger Polizeidienst or Sicherheitswacht) do solely exist in a few States: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Hesse and Saxony. The auxiliary police (Freiwillige Polizei-Reserve (FPR)) of Berlin was dissolved in 2002. Their jurisdiction varies between states.
Founded in May 1963, the Baden-Württemberg auxiliary police (Freiwilliger Polizeidienst Baden-Württemberg) today consists of 1,201 members.
The officers are required to complete two weeks of training after which they are usually deployed on service with a regular police officer. In the eyes of law, they are fully authorized police officers, wear normal police uniforms with a certain patch and complete police gear, including pepper spray, handcuffs and Walther P5 pistol.
Though, the coalition contract of 2011-2016 between the governing political parties Bündnis 90/Die Grünen and the SPD seeks the abolishment of the auxiliary police and the financial supply as well as the recruitment of new auxiliary officers was suspended.
The Bavarian auxiliary police (Bayerische Sicherheitswacht) was officially founded on 31 December 1996.
Officers have limited legal powers: apart from a citizen's arrest, briefly detain and question a person and check their identification and can ask a dangerous person to leave the area (Platzverweis under Article 16, PAG).
Equipped with a radio and pepper spray, they usually patrol on foot or by bicycle and do not wear a full uniform, but either plain clothes with a brassard or a marked shirt.
The auxiliary police in Hessen (Freiwilliger Polizeidienst Hessen) was introduced in October 2000 and employs around 750 members of which approximately 30% are women.
The officers are given 50 hours. Their patrol is limited to beats on foot and serves traffic control, assistance to major events and prevention of crime through mere police presence.
Although they wear ordinary police uniform (except wearing baseball caps instead of peaked caps) with "freiwilliger Polizeidienst" patches, their equipment is generally limited to pepper spray and a mobile phone.
Apart from this, they have limited powers as they may only ask a person to wait with them, briefly interrogate them, ask them to reveal their identity or to leave the area if they appear to be dangerous (Platzverweis under §31 HSOG).
The auxiliary police of Saxony (Sächsische Sicherheitswacht) was formed on 1 April 1998. A third of the 800 active members are women.
After being trained for 60 hours, they usually patrol on foot in blue or green jackets or shirts, showing presence on public transport, openly accessible buildings such as shopping malls and other public areas.
They are equipped with radio and pepper spray and are authorised to conduct a stop (§ 21, Abs. 1 Sächsisches Polizeigesetz) of a similar nature to officers in Bavaria or Hesse.
The Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force (HKAPF, traditional Chinese: 香港輔助警察隊), established in 1914, provides additional manpower to the Hong Kong Police Force ('HKPF') during emergencies and other incidents. From 1969 to 1997, the HKAPF was known as the Royal Hong Kong Auxiliary Police Force (RHKAPF).
Auxiliary police officers are paid hourly wages and have similar duties to full-time members of the HKPF. Most are armed and, like members of the HKPF, are equipped with full gear and weapons including pepper spray, expandable batons and Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolvers as sidearms, with spare ammunition, while some are armed with Remington 870 shotguns. The HKAPF reports to the Commissioner of Police.
The Hungarian term for auxiliary is called "Polgárőrség" which can be translated as "Civil Guard". The formal English name of this organisation is "Nationwide Civil Self-Defense Organizations" and the short Hungarian name is OPSZ. This entirely civilian organization includes uniformed and unarmed operatives who take part in police work in various fields such as:
- neighbourhood watch
- regular patrol with marked cars
- performing citizen's arrests by keeping criminals on the scene of the crime until the arrival of formal police, but only in the case of in flagrante delicto.
- assisting police officers on duty
- youth crime prevention units
- automatic number plate recognition unit called Matrix Police.
The Hungarian Auxiliary Police was established in 1989 and brought under the provisions of Act 52 of the Hungarian Parliament in 2006. It is composed of civic-minded residents of the community who work together to improve the level of safety and security in their community. The presence of the Auxiliary Police, in uniform, on patrol in marked police units has been proven to reduce vandalism and other crimes in the community. The force is currently made up of 80,000 volunteer members.
In the capital city of Hungary there is a "Civil Self-Defense Organizations of Budapest (and suburbia)"; the short Hungarian name is BPSZ. Members are assigned to 62 local community units and patrol in marked vehicles helping to make their community a safer place to live. They help prevent criminal activity by being the "eyes and ears" of the Police Department. The BPSZ is a member of the OPSZ.
Hungarian Auxiliary Police members do not possess more authority or rights than any other citizen. However effective 1 September 2009, act 84 of the year 2009 allows members to carry police issue pepper spray, as well as to direct traffic at traffic collision sites and pedestrian crossings in front of kindergartens and primary schools.
The Home Guards Organization was reorganised in India in 1962 and The Indian Home Guard is an Indian paramilitary force which is tasked as an auxiliary to the Indian Police. Members of the Indian Home Guard are equipped with and trained to use older weapons such as the Lee–Enfield SMLE rifle in .303 caliber, Sten sub-machine gun and Bren light machine-guns.
The duties to be performed by Home Guards are:
- To serve as auxiliary to the police and generally help in maintaining internal security.
- To help the community in any kind of emergency - such as on air-raid precautions or on any natural disaster.
- To function as an Emergency Force intended for special tasks directly or indirectly connected with the defence of the country.
- To maintain functional units to provide essential services such as motor transport, engineering groups, fire brigade, nursing and first aid, operation of power supply, water installations and communication systems etc.
- The Border Wing of 18 battalions assists the Border Security Force.
- Marine Units function as an Indian Coast Guard auxiliary.
- The Fire Wing assists the Indian Fire service.
"Citra Bhayangkara" or "PokdarKamtibmas" (Kelompok Sadar Keamanan dan Ketertiban Masyarakat) - Security and Community Safety Awareness group or FKPM (Forum Kemitraan Polisi dan Masyarakat) Police and Community Partnership Forum.
Established in 1992 by the Indonesia National Police Chief, the Indonesian Auxiliary Police, commonly known as POKDAR (PokdarKamtibmas), are both Uniformed and Non-uniformed.
The uniform was similar to the real Indonesian National Police (POLRI - Polisi Republik Indonesia), except the Police Badge on the left chest are absence. The uniform was later changed to a simple black "sleeve-less" jacket, with yellow "POKDARKAMTIBMAS" written on the back.
- Assist the National Police with neighborhood watch.
- Intel gathering.
- Assist Police Raid on anything from routine police road blocks/check-points to apprehending high risk criminals.
- Minimal undercover work.
- Help the Emergency Response Unit to maintain security and safety of the community in the event of Fire, Accidents or any other disaster.
The Garda Síochána are aided by an auxiliary force called the Garda Síochána Reserve, often simply called Garda Reserve. The position was created in 2006, with a planned 4,000 persons to join the Reserve according to An Garda Síochana Act 2005. The force are mainly involved in legislation relating to traffic, public order, theft and burglary.
They have limited powers, authorised by the Garda Commissioner. Garda Reserve members cannot drive a Garda patrol car, must be accompanied by a full member of the force while on patrol, and aren't allowed to carry firearms. Reserve members carry out duties such as event policing, attend court proceedings, assist at road check-points and road collisions. Reserves members are given training in relation to law, human rights, Garda communication, self-defence and Garda discipline and procedures.
The Israeli term for auxiliary is Mishmar Ezrachi which can be translated as "Civil Guard". This organization includes uniformed and non-uniformed civilians who take part in police work in various fields such as: neighbourhood watch, regular patrol with marked cars, traffic city police, highway police, bomb squad assistants, youth crime prevention unit, police coast guard, sniper units, border patrol, and police diving unit. This Auxiliary force is vital to keep the regular missions of the Israeli Police running, because of the nature of life in Israel, where there are many anti-terrorist and bomb threat missions.
As of today, the Civil Guard is a division in the "Police and Community" branch of the Israel Police. The Civil Guard is managed and supported by the police which provide weapons, equipment, training and police officers who command local Civil Guard bases (each community has one or more Civil Guard bases).
Although the Civil Guard is operated by the police, its manpower consists mainly of civilian volunteers. Members are trained to provide the initial response to a security situation until the police arrive.
Most Civil Guard volunteers are armed with M1 Carbines and personal handguns (if the member has a civilian gun license). The Civil Guard is composed mainly of "classic" volunteers who do patrols (in car or on foot) once in a while. They go through basic training and have [sometimes limited] police powers while on duty. They may apprehend a suspected person or even make an arrest if necessary.
Equipment of the Civil Guard generally consists of a fluorescent yellow police vest, flashlight, radio, firearms, handcuffs and whatever else may be required particular to the assignment. Equipment is returned at the end of the shift. Most volunteers manage about one shift a week (2 to 4+ hours), while the minimum requirement is 12 hours a month.
There are also Matmid (מתמי"ד) volunteers which operate far more intensively than "Classic"s in regular police work. Yatam (ית"מ) volunteers mainly operate in traffic control. Both Matmid and Yatam are more like volunteer police officers. They have almost all the authorities of a regular police officer. They receive advanced training and wear regular police uniforms.
The Civil Guard also has special units (such as snipers (dismantled), dune buggy riders(dismantled), bicycle-riders, search-and-rescue teams, cavalry (dismantled), divers, translators, and drivers), but their members have to go through additional training and have a higher level of commitment (they have to volunteer for more hours a month).
Recently, due to main power issues in the police, the "Classics" are now sent to courses in order to be uniformed and assist the police. The Auxiliary Police and the regular police are assuming almost the same functions when they are patrolling together.
The main difference of the Israeli Auxiliary Police forces to their counterpart worldwide is that:
- Off duty they don't have any power. It is absolutely forbidden to them to help the law enforcement when off duty. Off duty they can't prevent a crime in progress nor show their identities in order to prevent it.
- Lately they received new ID’s showing that they are Auxiliary Police and not Police. The discrimination gap from the police is more visible.
- When they are injured they are considered as civilian by the government. And they are considered as officers by the insurance companies. Insurance companies are avoiding them.
- The authorities are almost blind and just sending the injured Auxiliary Police to the National Insurance who is considering the case as a normal daily work accident. Every year from 70.000 Auxiliary Police 250 (known) are injured and not covered. Their normal police officer counterpart are receiving full coverage in case of injuries.
This engrossing gap is causing frustration in the community of Auxiliary Police which during a mission is assuming the same responsibilities of a police officer but not covered as their normal counterpart.
In Malaysia, auxiliary police refers to sworn security police officers serving in autonomous government agencies and key government-linked companies/entities such as Northport (Malaysia) Bhd (Northport), Petroleum Nasional Berhad (Petronas), the Malaysian Federal Reserve Bank (Bank Negara), the National Anti-Drug Agency (Agensi Anti-Dadah Kebangsaan - AADK), the Federal Land Development Agency (FELDA) and the Inland Revenue Board (Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri); and other institutions with semi-governmental interests. Such institutions include the National Savings Bank (Bank Simpanan Nasional - BSN), Malayan Railways Limited (Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad - KTMB), Pos Malaysia Holdings Berhad (the national postal service), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (the largest Malaysian airport operator), the North-South Highway Project (Projek Lebuhraya Utara Selatan - PLUS), Tenaga Nasional Berhad (the national power service), Sarawak Energy Berhad (Public Utilities) and other similar strategic organizations.
Most of these organizations have already been privatized, but are allowed to maintain an auxiliary police unit. Under special circumstances, auxiliary police units have also been established by private companies with no government interests at all such as the force maintained by Resorts World Berhad (RWB), the company that operates the popular resort and casino at Genting Highlands. At present, there are 153 government agencies, statutory bodies and private companies authorized to operate their own auxiliary police units, with a total strength of 40,610 personnel.
They are not attached per se to the Royal Malaysian Police, but are granted some police powers such as the power to carry out minor investigations or to make arrests within their area of jurisdiction. However, they are totally autonomous in matters related to the security of their company's premises and facilities. Some forces are also conferred the authority to issue traffic summonses (that are paid to the Federal Government, not the issuing organization) for offences committed on their area of jurisdiction. While Malaysian auxiliary police officers are empowered to carry firearms, for this purpose they are subject to the same application and approval procedures as any other private company instead of being treated as part of the Royal Malaysian Police.
It was announced in May 2010 that auxiliary police units will be allowed to enforce federal laws outside of their designated company/agency premises or areas, but the extent of this authority is yet to be determined. In his speech to officiate the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA)'s Auxiliary Police Firearms Range in Seremban, the Malaysian Deputy Home Minister, Abu Seman Yusop, said that auxiliary police officers "are also empowered to carry out their duties outside the workplace" in order to "help reduce crime".
Malaysian auxiliary police uniforms have been traditionally different from those of the regular police, but a consolidation exercise by the Management Department of the Royal Malaysian Police Federal Headquarters (Bukit Aman) in 2004 has since authorised the use of regular police dress, insignia and other paraphernalia for sworn auxiliary police officers. The only differences are the unit patches with company logo, e.g. Polis Bantuan Petronas (worn by auxiliary police officers only, sewn on the left sleeve), the shoulder title (which says "Polis Bantuan" or Auxiliary Police, instead of "Polis Diraja" or Royal Police) and the service number (worn by junior police officers of Sergeant Major rank and below, just above the right breast pocket; auxiliary police numbers begin with the letters 'PB' whereas regular officers numbers do not contain any letters.)
Under Malaysian law, auxiliary police officers are obliged to serve voluntarily and are therefore not paid by the Government. As such, they are designated full-time employees of the departments or corporations they serve and are remunerated on a different scale than regular police officers.
Under the Police Act of 1967 (Revised 1988) (Act 344), the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), with the consent of the Minister in charge of police affairs and the King, may appoint any person to hold honorary auxiliary police ranks to the level of Superintendent of Police and below, and to establish their areas of jurisdiction.
Mexico City Auxiliary Police are security police who work for the SSP and provide protection to government buildings, airports, etc. They do not protect banks or other financial institutions as these are protected by the Banking Police (Bancarios). See Ministry of Public Security (Mexico City)#Complimentary Police.
Since 1948, the Dutch police forces have had different forms of voluntary police officers. In 1948, shortly after WWII, the Reserve Police was established. First, their job was to 'come into service' in case of an emergency. With World War II only a few years behind the country, this seemed a very logical choice. The Reserve Police, as it was called from 1948 until 1994, consisted of men (and later women) who worked as fully armed and equipped police officers. Similar to their full-time colleagues they were equipped with a pistol, short baton, and handcuffs.
After some time the reason for the presence of voluntary police officers had changed. No longer were these men and women called into service only for emergencies. More and more they became part of the regular teams of police officers and started doing all sorts of regular police tasks. As of 1994, along with the first great reform of the Dutch police, police volunteers were fully integrated into the 25 regional police forces. Between 1994 and 2010, new voluntary police officers were no longer equipped with a pistol. Those who started before 1994 were allowed to keep their pistol, as long as they kept up training. Since 2005, all voluntary police officers are equipped with pepper spray. As of today, voluntary police officers are again equipped with a pistol, after having acquired a full police diploma, successfully completed several years of field-experience as an unarmed officer, and completed an additional police safety training. In 2012 the initial training program for new voluntary police officers was changed, reducing the training from three years down to one year. Dutch voluntary police officers hold the same police powers and wear the same uniform as their professional counterparts.
Since around the year 2000, police forces in the Netherlands started experimenting with police volunteers who performed administrative, house keeping, and other tasks. Labour unions have always criticized this. As of today, no definitive form for this type of volunteerism has been found and it still is subject of negotiations.
Usually the age for Auxiliary Police are 16-18 once they pass the volunteer program they may apply to be a full-time Police Officer
Some of the Volunteer Duties include
- Staff Duties
- Human Resources
- Police Search and Recovery units
- Buurtbeveiliging (Meaning Neighbourhood Security)
In Norway, conscripts who have completed their initial period of military training, can be transferred to the auxiliary police Politireserven (PR) rather than joining the military reserves. The PR is managed by the Mobile Police, and is intended to reinforce the regular police in case of national emergencies or disasters. The PR only exists in the central eastern part of the country. After a ten-day introduction course, and with refresher courses every few years, the PR troops can be used for armed or unarmed guard duties, border and traffic checkpoints, and for public order duties.
In Singapore, auxiliary police are security police appointed under Section 92(1) or (2) of the Police Force Act 2004 and are vested with all the power, protection and immunity of a police officer of corresponding rank and are licensed to carry firearms when carrying out their duties. Auxiliary police officers are full-time employees of companies known as auxiliary police forces (APF), and are not directly affiliated to the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Auxiliary police officers are trained through attending a residential training course, the curriculum of which is set by the Security Industry Regulatory Department (now the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department), a department of the SPF established by in 2004 to regulate the security industry.
After passing the training course and being appointed as auxiliary police, each auxiliary police officer is issued with a warrant card signed by the Commissioner of Police of the SPF with a National Skills Recognition Scheme certificate.
The first APF originated from the Airport Security Force formed under the Department of Civil Aviation in 1956 to guard and patrol at the former Paya Lebar Airport. In July 1963, it was officially designated as an APF.
In 1965, Malayan Airways formed its own APF as well. In 1967, when Malayan Airways was renamed Malaysia Singapore Airlines (MSA), the Security Department was called MSA Police. When MSA was broken up into Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines System in 1972, the Singapore component of the MSA Police became the SIA Auxiliary Police Force. In 1973, when Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS) was incorporated by SIA as a fully owned subsidiary, the SIA Auxiliary Police Force was renamed the SATS Auxiliary Police Force. In 1989, it was restructured as SATS Security Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of SATS Ltd.
In 1972, to meet the need of the commercial world in Singapore for armed guards, till then provided by the SPF's Guards and Escort Unit, the Parliament of Singapore passed an act to spin off the Guards and Escort Unit into a statutory board named the Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation (CISCO).
There were also other auxiliary police forces in Singapore such as the Pulau Bukom Auxiliary Police, CIAS Auxiliary Police (since renamed the Aetos Auxiliary Police Force), and the PSA Auxiliary Police (since merged with Aetos). These auxiliary police forces were granted licences and powers under the Police Force Act to operate only in restricted geographical areas, such as in the ports, airports, or Pulau Bukom Island.
In October 2004, following the enactment of the Police Force Act 2004, these auxiliary police forces were no longer restricted to operate in the airport or seaports and could offer their services throughout the whole island of Singapore.
There are currently five auxiliary police forces in Singapore:
- Aetos Auxiliary Police Force (part of Aetos Security Management)
- Certis CISCO Auxiliary Police Force (part of Certis Group)
- Installations Auxiliary Police Force
- Pulau Bukom Auxiliary Police Force
- SATS Auxiliary Police Force (part of SATS Security Services)
In 2017, some of the APFs are looking to recruit Taiwanese nationals due to problems in recruiting and retaining Singaporeans and Malaysians alike. Some were deployed to work at land checkpoints alongside Singaporeans in 2018.
According to reports from Radio Taiwan International, some Taiwanese nationals refuse to continue working due to the stress in their assigned job posts.
In South Korea, Auxiliary Police (AP) have a military-like structure, in that it consists of volunteers selected among eligible males (aged 18–35) who have not yet fulfilled the nation's obligatory military duty and the service in the Auxiliary Police is accepted as an equivalent of the military duty. The length of service for the auxiliary policemen is 21 months, which is identical to that of ROK Army enlistments. Also, within the Auxiliary Police rank, there exists four sub-ranks similar to the four enlisted ranks in the ROK Army: Private Constable (이경; Igyeong), Private Constable First Class (일경; Ilgyeong), Corporal Constable (상경; Sanggyeong), and Sergeant Constable (수경; Sugyeong).
When enlisted, volunteers first go through a four-week basic military training at Korea Army Training Center under administration of Ministry of National Defense. The recruits are then handed over to the Ministry of Public Administration and Security for later administration, and are given a three-week police training before being deployed to various police units (that are each no bigger than the size of a company) throughout the country. Depending on their assignment, the Auxiliary Policemen may assist the national police with a wide array of police works, such as riot policing, traffic control, crowd control, surveillance and patrol. Upon completion of their service, Auxiliary Policemen are discharged with a Sergeant rank in the ROK Army Reserve (except in cases of demotion).
The Sri Lanka Reserve Police was an auxiliary police that supported the Sri Lanka Police until it was disbanded in 2006 with its personal transferred to the Sri Lanka Police. However, as of 2008, a Community Police, also known as Civil Committees has been established around the country (mostly in urban areas) to increase public safety, following a series of bombings and attacks on buses and trains by suspected Tamil Tigers.
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The Swedish Auxiliary Police, Beredskapspolisen, was created in 1986 with the purpose to aid the regular police, primarily as a pool of trained manpower in special situations such as larger disturbances of the peace, major black-outs and power failures and natural disasters. The Swedish police force was increased in size from around 2006 and the Swedish Auxiliary Police were disbanded on 1 October 2012 as being no longer needed. At the time of its disbandment it had 1,500 officers.
The Auxiliary Police were organised with at least one section per län. Each section consisted of two or more troops and each troop consisted of three eight-man squads. All leadership positions were filled by experienced police officers from the regular police force who had undergone leadership training. The auxiliary police officers were recruited exclusively among people who had completed their military service but since 1 January 2008 military service was no longer a requirement.
The uniforms were similar to the regular police with the exception of the name Beredskapspolis instead of Polis. The auxiliary police did not initially carry pistols, but only used the Carl Gustav M/45 which was also used by the regular police in special situations. Later, this weapon was replaced by a police version of the Army's Ak 5 - the CGA5P. Later, the auxiliary police was, when needed, armed only with the standard Swedish police pistol the SIG Sauer.
The Special Constabulary is the part-time volunteer section of a statutory police force in the United Kingdom or some Crown dependencies. Its officers are known as special constables or informally as specials. Specials have opportunities to be promoted to supervisory ranks (such as sergeant and inspector), however they are limited to the office of constable and as such do not receive additional police powers if promoted to the rank of inspector. Special promotions are merely administrative and do not reflect the equivalent regular rank.
Special Constables are permitted to carry all equipment utilised by their full-time counterparts - including a baton, PAVA or CS spray and handcuffs. Special Constables, however, aren't permitted to train in the use of Tasers or take up firearms roles. They are, sometimes, allowed to join other specialist units such as Roads Policing Units.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland, the only routinely armed force in the UK, does not have a Special Constabulary. It does, however, have a Reserve programme. Reserve Constables are paid for their part-time work and are permitted to carry their personal protection weapon (PPW) on and off-duty, like their regular counterparts.
The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that, as of 2013, there were more than 29,000 unpaid reserve (auxiliary) officers in the United States, and about 32% of local police departments had a reserve officer program. Larger cities are generally more likely to have a reserve program than smaller cities; 62% of police departments that patrol areas with a population of over 1 million have a police reserve program, while only 26% of the smallest departments (serving areas with a population lower than 2,500) do.
In late 2010, an opinion by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan affirmed that state law requires auxiliary police in Illinois (numbering about 1,000 auxiliary police officers and sheriff's deputies statewide) to be state-certified officers. After the opinion was issued, the Illinois Police Reserves (which for decades had provided auxiliary police services, such as crowd control, in a number of suburban Chicago municipalities) ended training of new volunteers and its relationship with the suburb governments because its volunteers were not state-certified. However, in 2014, the organization resumed recruiting and doing unsanctioned training, which caught the attention of authorities "investigating non-government, legally unrecognized reserve police organizations" viewed as potentially deceptive. The Chicago-based watchdog group Better Government Association has criticized the practice of maintaining uncertified auxiliary police officers in Illinois and nationwide; writing, following a joint investigation in 2019 with WMAQ-TV (NBC5 Investigates): "Most of the time, this army of under-trained cops works without incident in low-risk tasks such as directing traffic or standing the rope line at parades. But the practice has also been plagued by nepotism, politics, and questionable policing." The group pointed to a number of cases of misconduct by Illinois auxiliary officers over the previous decades, including some incidents that had led to towns settling legal claims brought against them due to auxiliary officers' misconduct. In 2015, a volunteer reserve deputy in Oklahoma fatally shot Eric Harris, an unarmed black man; the reserve deputy was convicted of manslaughter.
The New York City Police Department's Auxiliary Police consists of about 4,500 unarmed volunteer auxiliary officers who conduct foot patrols, traffic-control duty, and other activities. In a 1991 decision, the New York Court of Appeals held that the "fellow-officer rule" (a rule allowing a police officer "to rely on a communication from another police officer and to act upon it in making an arrest") applied to auxiliary officers.
Historical auxiliary police units
Federal Republic of Germany
- Aetos Security Management, Singapore
- Certis Group, Singapore
- Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Reserves, Los Angeles
- Police Service of Northern Ireland Reserve
- SATS Security Services, Singapore
- State Police of Crawford and Erie Counties
- New Mexico Mounted Patrol
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- Chuck Goudie & Barb Markoff, Illinois Police Reserves: An 'appearance of authority', WLS-TV (March 16, 2020).
- Jared Rutecki & Brett McNeil, Auxiliary Officers Pose Risks in Illinois Towns, Better Government Association/WMAQ-TV (April 17, 2019).
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Auxiliary police.|
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- BPSZ - Civil Self-Defense Organizations of Budapest
- Matrix Police Auxiliary Police Organization of Hungary
- Polgárőrség Szentendre (Auxiliary Police of Szentendre) - Civil Self Defense Organization of Szentendre City, Hungary
- Rádió P a polgárőr rádió-The voice of the Hungarian auxiliary police
- Baltimore County Auxiliary Police
- Chesterfield County Virginia Auxiliary Police
- Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary
- Hazel Park, Michigan Auxiliary Police
- Nassau County Auxiliary Police
- NYPD Auxiliary Police
- Sayreville, NJ Auxiliary Police
- Somerville, Mass Auxiliary Police Department
- University of Maryland Police Auxiliary
- Walnut Creek, California Police Reserves
- Winthrop Auxiliary Police Department
- Reserve Police Officers Association (RPOA)
- New York State Association of Auxiliary Police