Reality of policing made loud and clear

23 May 2018

PFEW Annual Conference 2018 audience

Around 1,000 delegates attended the Annual Conference at the ICC in Birmingham over the course of two-days to listen and debate current issues in policing, covering counter terrorism, stop and search, assaults on police, emergency response driving, conduct, performance, welfare and much more.

Policing Minister Nick Hurd was put on the spot over pay, while Michael Lockwood, the Director General of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), told delegates what he is doing to improve what was formerly the IPCC and would try to establish respect from all sides.

PC Laura Gargett's story was one of several powerful videos shown as part of the Protect the Protectors session. She told host – LBC presenter Ian Collins - that assault is a daily risk for a police officer, and said: "I get disheartened that the legislation isn’t in place to support us when these things happen. I think that’s because the hands of the criminal justice system are shackled by weak legislation. We need to get the message out there that the law needs changing because these assaults are becoming too commonplace."

A former gang member and founder of Gangsline Ltd, Sheldon Thomas, spoke of the need for society to change and for communities to take their share of the responsibility to bring about a reduction in violent crime as part of a session on stop and search.

In his first keynote address to Conference as PFEW Chair, Calum Macleod, cautioned the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid "to learn the lessons his predecessors failed to” and urged the Government to go further in it protection of officers.  This hard-hitting video depicted some of the many issues faced by frontline officers, day in, day out, as part of his address.

The new Home Secretary Sajid Javid pledged to reset the relationship between the government and the police, saying he has confidence in our professional judgement, voicing support of stop and search. He also said he would prioritise police funding in the spending review next year.

Officer fatigue, the impact to the public of a reduction in neighbourhood policing and the crisis in detective policing also featured.

PFEW’s outgoing General Secretary Andy Fittes spoke about the Federation’s work in reforming itself and becoming more accountable (detailed in our Annual Public Value Report), culminating in the elections this year, and urged the Federation to keep moving forwards.

In his final remarks when closing Conference, Calum Macleod thanked everyone for their contribution and said he looks forward to seeing positive action following the Home Secretary’s promises.