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Realities of policing highlighted at conference

  • Posted On 23 May 2018

    The stark realities of trying to maintain an effective policing service and protect the public were highlighted during a number of sessions on the opening day of a conference packed with topical debates.

    Officer assaults, fatigue, long drawn-out investigations by the IOPC and the demand and capacity imbalance were among the issues discussed at the national Police Federation conference which is being held at the ICC in Birmingham.

    “The theme of conference this year is Protecting the Protectors: The reality of policing and it was clear throughout the first day that policing is in crisis with the consequences of cuts meaning that our communities and our officers are suffering,” says John Williams, acting chair of West Midlands Police Federation.

    “While the Federation has been warning of this for some time, it was interesting to hear the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Sir Thomas Winsor, and even police minister Nick Hurd, acknowledging the difficulties and challenges the police service is facing at the moment as it tries to meet increased demand with reduced resources.”

    Mr Hurd also admitted the Federation had won the argument on funding and pledged to call not just for the protection of police budgets in the next Government Comprehensive Spending Review but also an increase in funding.

    He was less convincing when asked to commit to fully back any recommendation from the Police Remuneration Review Body on officer pay, saying that he could not make such a promise without seeing what was put forward but conceding, when repeatedly asked, that only a ‘bonkers’ recommendation would be rejected. He said as police minister he would always fight for police officers.

    The Federation’s annual conference is being at the ICC for the second year running.

    Day 1’s agenda included a session on the Federation’s Protect the Protectors campaign, covering officer assaults and emergency response driving, with the latter featuring an input from West Midlands Police Federation deputy secretary and national response drives lead, Tim Rogers, who has led calls for better protection in law for police and emergency service drivers.

    Other sessions were a welcome from national Federation chair Calum Macleod, a speech by the new director general of the IOPC, Michael Lockwood, the presentation of the women in policing award, breakout sessions on fatigue, women officers and protecting our streets and a panel discussion around the demand and capacity imbalance.

    The final session of the day was a Question Time style debate with the police minister, shadow police minister Louise Haigh, Sir Thomas and the national chair.

    West Midlands DI Warren Hines was among those to take part in the debate and made the point that some forces had the luxury of having officer numbers at the same as they were in 1985 since the Force had less than it did in 1974. He questioned the figures the police minister had quoted in terms of the re-investment in policing, saying some of the money had actually come from council tax.

    Perhaps best demonstrating the pressures officers are under and the realities of policing, DI Hines was then called away from conference to lead a murder inquiry in the city and another very serious incident.

    Wednesday’s conference will include a discussion around pay and conditions, a keynote speech by the national chair and break-out sessions on detectives and counter-terrorism.

    Full reports on conference will be featured in the next edition of our Federation magazine.

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