Fri, 21 Sep 2018
Together with colleagues from local Police Federation boards, John Apter, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, will be telling MPs they need to stand up for policing.
With the Party Conference Season about to start, this is a critical time when MPs get together on a national stage to set out their vision for the future. Policing and the security of communities must be on their agenda.
I will personally ensure that the needs of the 120,000 members I represent is at the heart of these political events. As the voice of the federated ranks, my Federation colleagues and I will be clear about what needs to change. Policing must be taken seriously.
The bottom line is policing has lost more than 21,300 officers since 2010 – that’s a drop of 15% - the lowest number of police officers since 1996. With officer numbers decreasing and crime rates rising, it is obvious that the police service just cannot meet the demands loaded upon it.
Police officers are giving the public and the communities they serve their all, and many are becoming ill as they burn out under the increased pressures. But they continue to give their all because they care – to them it is more than just a job – it is a vocation. They don’t just clock off and leave vulnerable victims of crime alone; they go above and beyond, but they need to be met halfway. For far too long officers have been pushed to the extreme.
The Police Federation of England and Wales’ (PFEW) last Welfare, Demand and Capacity survey highlighted that:
Add to that the derisory pay increase this year, which showed how little the government values police officers and it is clear why the service is on a slippery slope.
Even the country’s most senior police officer, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick, has spoken out, saying that the government’s refusal to honour the pay review body recommendation in full for the second year and therefore increase police pay by 3% in England and Wales is a ‘punch in the nose’.
It is in the public interest to turn this dire situation around. And it will take a lot more than empty thanks and platitudes from those who have the power to change officers’ lot.
Now is the time to take action. Over the coming weeks we will lobby those in power to support our police service, because we know there are many MPs out there who do value and support what we do. We will be talking about our hugely successful Protect the Protectors campaign and what still has to be done to better protect our officers. We will be talking officer safety and welfare. We will be talking demand and capacity. We will be talking about the risks taken every day and the need to recognise the unique training officers undertake for the greater good of our society.
On your behalf, I will have the robust and constructive conversations needed with those who have the power to restore our faith in a government which has lost sight of the importance of policing to the British public.
Our voice matters and it can make a difference.
© 2018 Police Federation of England & Wales