Parish constables win approval: Public invited to write job specification for revived police rank

MICHAEL HOWARD, the Home Secretary, who plans to resurrect the old-style parish constable as part of the Government's response to public anxiety about rising crime, yesterday launched a competition to draw up the job specification.

Parish councils and other groups are being asked to submit ideas for duties, powers, method of selection, title and uniform - but not for salaries, since the job will carry none.

Mr Howard announced the plan during the Christchurch by-election campaign. Fears that it was just an election gimmick were alleviated when the organisations representing all police ranks gave tacit approval, by agreeing that their members will join the panel of competition judges.

Also on the panel will be Clive Aslet, the editor of Country Life magazine, whose campaign against rural crime - which in recent years has risen more steeply than urban crime, in some areas by as much as 700 per cent - included the proposal for the reintroduction of the parish bobby.

The office of parish constable virtually died with the Metropolitan Police Act of 1829, which laid the groundwork for the the modern police force. The Home Secretary believes it could be useful again, to deter vigilante groups.

Mr Howard said yesterday: 'We need to do all we can to strengthen the partnership against crime.' The parish constable would 'act as a new channel of communication between the public and the police, and would help organise local crime prevention initiatives, such as neighbourhood watch and farm watch'. Ideas culled from winning entries will be used in pilot schemes. Alan Eastwood, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents 120,000 junior ranks, is a panel member. He said: 'The fight against crime is not solely down to the police; it is society's problem.' He thinks the parish constable can be part of the solution.

A MORI survey, published today, shows that most people support the principle of reinforcing police presence with local security patrols. The survey, commissioned by the BBC's Panorama programme, shows that many people live in fear of crime; 54 per cent of the sample believing they are likely to fall victim to burglars, and 60 per cent to car thieves. More than half said they would support private patrols, 27 per cent saying they would participate.

Entries for the parish constable competition should be sent to room 624, Home Office, 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT.

Leading article, page 17

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Supply Chain Administrator

£8000 - £10800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Supply Chain Administrator is ...

Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / Analyst (CIMA finalist/newly qualified)

£32000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant / F...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - .NET

£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of a mark...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor