A TOWN council is looking to bring in five new volunteer police officers as its current recruits celebrate being in the role for one year.

Three Special Constables - Jason Winton, Lorne Campbell and Simon Jesse - hit the beat in Witham for the first time last June when the town council became the first local authority in Essex to fund its own volunteer officers.

Since then they have committed more than 650 hours of their time between them to patrolling the streets, making arrests and carrying out speed checks.

Witham Town Council leader Michael Lager said: “The relationship with the police both on a day to day basis and on a senior level is really important to the town council.

“We have some way to go but the evidence is Witham remains a safe and agreeable town, relatively free of fear and actual crime and it’s a good place to live and do business.

“We value our relationship with the police and it’s proof here in the UK the community can police itself.”

The council funds any expenses the specials need to carry out their duties in the town with the scheme forming part of a council plan to tackle anti-social behaviour.

To mark the anniversary a special celebration was held at Witham Town Hall where specials were presented with an anniversary cake before heading out on a patrol around the town centre.

At the meeting Special Constabulary head, Superintendent Cat Barrie, said she was pleased the council was so devoted to the scheme.

She said: “The team tell me how valued they feel, how regularly you engage and how they’ve been able to bring the policing family into the community.

“They’re held in high regard throughout the whole force.

“They want to deal with the local issues and are at the heart of making the town a great place to live and they’re working hard with partners to signpost and deal with these issues.”

In February the officers were given an Inspirational Role Model award at the Witham Community and Safety Awards and were also given individual safety and community prizes.

For more information visit essex.police.uk/specials.