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Stand with us and have your voice heard

Friday, 02 February 2018


General Secretary, Andy Fittes shares his views about the changes to how officers can stand for election and why this is important to the Federation’s election processes.

This week saw the 2018 Federation’s elections open nationally, with nominations for workplace reps opened across England and Wales. It is encouraging to see that more than 400 of you have already put yourselves forward to stand and represent your colleagues. Motivation may simply be to make a difference to the working lives of your colleagues, or it may be that you want to effect change to the federation itself – we are often criticised for being an old boys’ network and members do share their frustrations about what changes they think should happen. For me though it is simply encouraging enough to know that you are interested and there are people willing to put themselves forward to make a difference, irrespective of what the motivation is, as this is what it is all about.

We have been going through a lengthy review process to get to this point. The new processes we have put in place mean all police officers can now vote for workplace reps, local Chairs as well as the national Chair. This provides a new rank-less structure; with no more separate rank committees at local or national level.

The number of officers on the National Board will also be reduced from 30 to 24 and the wider organisation in the shape of the National Council, will be part of the policy shaping process for the organisation. They will feed into the national board, who will run the organisation day to day . This is important as it is the views that come from you as local fed reps which you in turn get from officers which inform all of this.

With this set of elections I really hope people put themselves forward to help fundamentally change the make up of the wider Federation – we recognise that under-represented groups have struggled to get their voice heard and all I would say is just give it a go – put yourself forward and take it from there.

I believe that all of you, if you choose to, should put yourselves forward to be a fed rep and we are here to help.

Nominating yourself is easy - you can do this via an online portal during the nomination period and you do not have to be nominated by another member. However, you do have to be a subscribing member of the Federation to put yourself forward. When putting yourself forward you have to understand that by becoming a rep you will represent the Federation and need to comply with the rules, as when joining any organisation. This is probably obvious, but if you did not want to comply, why would you want to join the Federation?

Any person standing as a candidate in an election must complete the nomination form and sign our Standards and Performance agreement. This should not be a problem as long as you are not suspended as a police officer or by the Federation; or are prohibited to stand under the Ethics, Standards and Performance Procedure. If none of these points apply to you there is nothing to prevent you standing and it’s a straight forward process.

I have been a rep since 1999 and became one as I wanted to be the voice for colleagues and myself. I have gained so much training and experience while being a local rep and a board member that it has made me a better police officer. I have had to make very difficult decisions but I carry this role without fear or favour for the benefit of the whole organisation, not just my home force.

Being an effective part of the organisation is believing in it as well as sharing the passion for all the great work we do for our members. This will be last election that I oversee, as I am stepping down from the post of General Secretary and it would be great to hand the reigns over to new blood and fresh perspectives to help the Federation modernise further.

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