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'Policing for the Future'

Better treatment and protection for police firearms officers trying to protect the public is urgently needed.

That's the key message of a feature report in 'Policing for the Future', a 60-minute news and current affairs-style programme, produced by the Police Federation of England and Wales and ITN Productions.

With the Home Office promising an uplift of 1,500 'extra' firearms officers to combat terrorism threats, the Federation and policing partners ask the questions - Where will these officers come from? How will they be funded? Will there be enough protection to encourage officers to train up?

Featuring interviews with Federation firearms lead Che Donald, UK national firearms lead Simon Chesterman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, and Mark Williams from the Police Firearms Officers' Association, the strong message is that current policies may be undermining efforts to keep the public safe from terrorist attacks.

They discuss their concerns about the current treatment of officers, and the effect that new Independent Police Complaints Commission recommendations may have on the welfare and numbers of firearms-trained officers.

PFEW chair Steve White shares his insights on the alarming attrition rate of firearms-trained officers and how firearms policy is impacting on recruitment in an interview with the programme's host, Natasha Kaplinsky.

"Ensuring our firearms officers - and in fact all officers - are adequately protected when doing their jobs is one of our key priorities. The Federation fully supports moves to better protect the British public from any acts of terrorism; however, we need to be sure we are doing this the right way. It is essential that officers are equipped and trained to the highest of standards so that they are able to react to any threats and do their jobs" he said.

The programme includes a report on Home Secretary Theresa May's address to the Police Federation's conference and her views on the role of the police. Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham reveals why he 'Believes in Blue.' It will also look in-depth at the technologies, such as body-worn cameras, digital case management systems and remotely accessible databases, which are reducing paperwork and revolutionising modern policing at a time of stringent budget cuts.

Ensuring that the police are supported and well-equipped to face the future of law enforcement is a key priority for the Police Federation in a climate where the police service is forced to do 'more with less' , operating with 17,000 fewer officers than it had five years ago.

Policing for the Future premiered at the Police Federation's Annual Conference in Bournemouth on 16 May and is available at: www.polfed.org/newsroom/3456.aspx