Part-time police will have more than their truncheon and CS spray to rely on when they go after criminals.

Hampshire members of the thin blue line are being given added protection thanks to brokers Stuart Harvey Insurance.

The group schemes broker has handcuffed a deal with the Home Office to provide legal protection to Hampshire's special constabulary.

The legal fees cover, underwritten by Composite Legal Expenses, will ensure PCs are properly protected if they are sued by suspects when they are on the beat.

Steve Ferris, schemes administrator at Stuart Harvey, said they had to overcome stiff competition to win the case.

He said special constables can be exposed to hostile and unpleasant situations and it is only just that they should have an avenue for redress if they are injured or sued.