Volunteers to help police investigate cyber crime - Theresa May
But under plans to give more power to support staff and volunteers, the Home Secretary will allow forces to select individuals with computer and accountancy skills to help with specific types of crime.
Civilians have worked with the police as so-called 'special constables' since 1831 and enjoyed the full powers of forces, while non-special volunteers have no powers.
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But under plans in the Policing and Crime Bill, volunteers will have new capabilities without changing their roles.
"Police officers across the country carry out a wide range of duties, keeping the public safe and ensuring justice for the most vulnerable members of society,” Ms May said.
"We value the essential role they play, but they cannot do this on their own.
"We want to help forces to create a more flexible workforce, bring in new skills and free up officers' time to focus on the jobs only they can carry out."
People with IT or accountancy skills, could "work alongside police officers to investigate cyber or financial crime, and help officers and staff fight crime more widely", she said.
She added that such skills were in “particular demand”.
Dave Jones, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for citizens in policing, said: "The new approach to designating police powers will help the police service be more flexible when it comes to attracting and deploying volunteers with valuable skills, especially in situations where the full powers of a constable are not necessary.
"The onus on chief constables is to use the powers wisely, ensure they fit the needs of local policing and provide appropriate training so that they help us keep our communities safe."