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Federation chairman re-lives her journey

Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch talked about her life's journey when she was a guest speaker at the Force's Women's Inclusive Network (WIN) event at De Montfort University.

Tiff joined nearly 200 officers and staff from the Force, surrounding forces and other blue light services at the event staged to promote the WIN. Tiff talked about growing up in Oakham, her school years, joining the Force at 18, the various roles she has undertaken as a front-line police officer, a career break and finally her role as Leicestershire Police Federation's first female chair.

She told the audience about taking on the Federation post: "To say, it was a steep learning curve is something of an understatement.

"I have always been a PC, and I imagine I always will be, but all of a sudden, from being a constable, I found myself in regular meetings with the chief officer team; my views were sought, my opinions were taken on board.

"As a Federation official, it is a huge responsibility to represent your colleagues, to negotiate on their behalf and to seek to influence key decision-makers."

The all-day event, called 'Your Journey', was open to everyone within the Force, and key partners who wanted to learn more about the network.

Chief Superintendent Kerry Smith, chair of the network, said: "Today has been an opportunity for networking and to hear the 'journeys' of inspirational women and colleagues.

"It has been a real inspiration and I am so proud and pleased to have been part of the event. We have heard the amazing journeys of some inspiring and determined individuals and I hope that the day has been both supportive and informative for those in attendance."

The day began with a welcome from Chief Constable Simon Cole and the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Kirk Master followed by talks from inspirational speakers from a variety of backgrounds who shared their stories about their personal and professional experiences.

Along with Tiff, speakers included Ch Supt Smith; Amy Morgan, the mother of murdered Tyler Thompson, who spoke about the impact her son's death has had on her and why she's supporting the #LivesNotKnives campaign; Jo Ashworth OBE, head of forensic services at East Midlands Special Operations Unit; Ellah Kandi - a De Montfort University student and the Rev Julie Nicolson - who spoke about losing her daughter Jenny in the London 7/7 bombings.

As part of the event, the winner of the Force's Woman of the Year award was announced. The award is for an officer, staff member, special constable, volunteer or police cadet who has demonstrated their determination and commitment to policing while inspiring others.

Barbara O'Donoghue, who is a retired CSI (Crime Scene Investigator) from Leicestershire Police, was presented with the award by Ch Supt Smith and Helen King from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

During the afternoon the Chief Constable joined Paul Griffiths, vice president of the Police Superintendents' Association of England and Wales, in the Leicestershire leg of his charity cycle ride.

Paul is using his annual leave and rest days to cycle more than 2,000 miles between the 46 police headquarters in England and Wales that are part of the association, to raise money for the National Police Memorial Day Trust. Mr Cole and Paul cycled into the venue and were greeted with cheers and support from people at the event.

The day included a buffet lunch and a raffle with donations of 354 going to the Mia Moo Foundation. The WIN has collectively raised 3,734 for the foundation.

The WIN provides informal support and advice about issues that in the main, but not exclusively affect female members of staff, such as discrimination, recruitment, retention, specialist roles, uniform, flexible working, and work-life balance.