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Putting officers first

4 May 2016

At the start of the year, I set out three personal and professional priorities. I wanted to see improved welfare support for officers, better treatment for officers assaulted in the line of duty and the establishment of a PSD education programme designed to increase officer awareness of the issues that could lead to them being subject to investigation.

I am happy to say that there has been progress in all three areas. The Force is encouraging officers to volunteer as welfare support officers, a move designed to help develop a more consistent approach to this invaluable role and we will watch with interest as this gathers pace.

Meanwhile, we have worked closely with the Force and our UNISON branch colleagues to develop a Seven-Point Plan on officer assaults. Modelled on a plan first developed by Hampshire Constabulary and the Hampshire Police Federation branch, this will be displayed throughout police stations and police offices and sets out what officers and staff can expect if they are subject to an assault. It will be launched this month.

It makes it very clear that no-one should ever consider assault as just part of the job; it's not, and it should never be accepted as such. Hopefully, we will soon see an improvement in the way assaults on officers and staff are recorded too. It cannot be right that there are no accurate statistics to show the extent of attacks on police staff and police officers as they go about their duties protecting their communities.

Finally, we have also been working with PSD to help develop an educational programme, raising awareness of the issues officers need to pay careful attention to. We will keep you updated as this progresses.

So, we have seen good progress in the first few months of 2016 but, of course, that does not mean we can ease back as we fast approach the second half of the year. The Police Federation stages its national conference in Bournemouth in May and no doubt we will hear what the Government has in store for us next when the Home Secretary Theresa May addresses delegates. Once again, we will keep you updated.

Tiff Lynch