SOUTHEND Council’s new administration is set to back plans for a team of special constables in the town... but fears no one will sign up.

The previous Tory council unveiled plans for 34 special constables as part of its ten-point plan for the town.

But Tory boss Tony Cox was ousted after an alliance of Labour, the Lib Dems and independents was formed, throwing the specials plans into doubt.

The new administration is now setting out its priorities for the borough.

And now the new alliance is set to consider an as-yet unpublished report on the scheme at a cabinet meeting next week.

The scheme has the backing of Martin Terry, the new councillor responsible for community safety .

Independent Mr Terry said: “I am supportive of the scheme.

“Anything to improve community safety is a good thing. I do have some reservations over it though.

“I want to support it but the experience of Leigh Town Council concerns me. They set out their budget for this two years ago and they haven’t been able to deliver it yet because very few people have volunteered. As far as I know they had three applicants and two dropped out. Only one is being trained at the moment.

“I am hoping it’s successful and I would be happy to support it but while everyone wants more support for community safety on the streets, if no comes forward we’re not going to be able to do it.”

Mr Terry added: “It comes back to the debate, ‘this is policing on the cheap’. This is not the only avenue. I do believe fundamentally that Southend is grossly under-resourced in terms of police and that’s what I am focussing on.”

Special constables are volunteers and are unlikely to work full-time.

The scheme was devised to address growing levels of antisocial behaviour and violence in the borough, particularly in the town centre .

The special constables would have the exactly the same powers as police constables and would form a neighbourhood policing team.

If all 34 volunteers are enlisted, each ward would have two special constables on patrol.