Is infiltration of the police possible and can it aid your story?

Posted: December 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There was a time when anyone working for the UK police was either a police officer or a civilian employee of the force.  Just two categories, one dealing with administrative and support functions of the service and the other providing the legal means by which to carry out their prescribed functions i.e. preventing and detecting crime and maintaining public safety and order.

The civilian employees have over the years gone through various name changes from “civvies” to today’s Police Support Staff although this may differ from force to force.  Essentially, these have been the two contracted and paid roles.  Even from the original inception of the Police in the 1800s there have been Special Constables providing their time and expertise free of charge to each force.

With the introduction of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs), a new tier of policing evolved.  Some of the tasks allocated to police officers were devolved to PCSOs, especially tasks that didn’t require police powers to carry them out.  However, since the implementation of austerity measures and reduced funding, forces have been required to adjust the way they have done business in order to save money.  Since 80% of police budgets is spent on wages, the 20% saving required, naturally meant that some staff would have to be lost one way or another.  The volume of work rarely decreases so less staff have found themselves over-stretched performing more work that previously. Specialist roles have had to be either reduced in number or increased in range of responsibility.

To aid this change, most forces have, at the suggestion of the College of Policing looked at what roles they have that any person could carry out on a voluntary basis.  These roles should not entail contact with sensitive data or issues so tasks such as filing, transporting and freeing up other staff were to be considered.  Some forces have extended these roles to look at what specialism can be offered for free to the service.  Specialists in IT or forensic science readily spring to mind.  The spectrum of roles has been stretched so far in some forces that they now had statement takers, interviewers, scene of crime specialists and internet intelligence officers.  The original idea of taking on volunteers specified that no job should be handed to a volunteer that a paid employee had done or should be doing.  Naturally, the unions are concerned about the way the original idea is developing but forces cannot be turned away from ways to save a buck.

Read – We’ll have no cash left to fight crime: Police chief claims cuts will take bobbies off the beat


This obviously has inherent dangers.  Who are these people offering to do voluntary work for the police.  In some cases, they are retired police officers and support staff.  Some are members of the community who want to help support their local officers in any way they can.  Others may however, be offering their services to gain prestige associated with working with the police to improve their own advantages or they may even have been recruited by a criminal organisation to infiltrate the police.  These are the people the forces need to weed out but can they and could you use such individuals in your story?  If so, what role would they undertake?  How would they garner information of value to themselves or their criminal associates?  Would they be caught out and if so how?  How much damage could they cause, for how long and to whom?

Run your ideas or observations past me and see what comes up.

Lincolnshire Police 1000 Volunteer Challenge

West Yorkshire Police – Volunteers in Policing –

Being a Police Volunteer –

Anti-speed Volunteers in Sussex –


  1. J E Ellard says:

    A great piece of information!! Never realised how easy it is to get a foothold into the Police civilian staff.. It may be too easy to develop a story giving scope for an entirely new way to create tension.

    Many thanks indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

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