Sussex and Surrey police officers 'asked to volunteer'

Retired police officers in Surrey and Sussex have been sent an email asking them to consider returning to work for free.

The email was sent by the chairman of Surrey Police Retired Comrades Association, Robert Bartlett.

The email said Det Ch Insp Claire Pidgeon was developing the idea of retired officers volunteering to help with house-to-house inquires.

Surrey Police said it was not planning to pursue the idea.

In a statement, the force said: "There were some preliminary exploratory discussions around how volunteers could potentially support major crime investigations."

'Incredibly cheeky'

Mr Bartlett said that there were no further details of the plan and that there may be other roles that could use the skills of retired police officers.

The email reads: "A villain is a villain and always has been and your instinct, honed over thirty years, for inconstancy and suspicion never changes.

"Early days but the Det Chief Insp would like to know if this is an attractive possibility for retired officers living in or close to Surrey and Sussex.

"There is no doubt that a training update will be made available. This is a voluntary role and will probably not attract payment."

Royston Martis, former Deputy Editor of Police Review magazine, said that police forces would find it difficult to justify recruiting volunteers at the same time as reducing the number of paid officers.

"It is policing on the cheap. To ask them to work for free in some of the roles they used to be paid for seems incredibly cheeky," he said.

Mike Ledwidge, a retired officer who received the email, said: "There are a number of roles in the police service that people are doing for free.

"It's no surprise that there are officers and ex-officers out there who are willing to do that, because that is the sort of people they are."

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