31 July 2018
The time has come for police officers to bite back after years of being kicked by a Government that has its head firmly buried in the sand when it comes to the impact of cuts, according to the new national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales.
And John Apter has vowed to take a tough stance when negotiating on members’ behalf after becoming the first national chair to be chosen after an election in which members across the country could all take part.
“For far too long police officers have been taken advantage of. Pay and conditions, ‘reform’ of the service, huge budget cuts, and outrageous slurs and media soundbites... The Government has been kicking us for years. There comes a point where we must bite back, that time has come,” he said.
And he added: “Whilst we must have a relationship with the Home Office, chief officers and the College of Policing, I do not want to be their friend. I will hold them to account to make sure they act in my members best interests. That begins tomorrow when I start my role as national chair.
“I have a long list of priorities. At the top of the list will always be pay and conditions. Following the contemptible and disgraceful actions of the Government this year over our pay award – and let’s be frank, over the past seven or eight years – we have some significant decisions to make. The disdain and contempt shown to police officers in England and Wales must end.”
John, who has been chair of Hampshire Police Federation since 2010, says he is ‘honoured and humbled’ to have been elected to lead the Federation and proud to be a police officer, saying officers are ordinary people doing an extraordinary job.
“They are the bravest. They are the best,” he explained.
John intends to push the Government to centrally fund Taser, wants to see better protection for police drivers and also wants to start a debate on employment rights for police officers.
“Other areas I want to focus on include Special Constables joining the Federation, the ongoing wellbeing of colleagues and reviewing the 'free half hour for the Queen’. I will be making myself as visible as possible, both to members across England and Wales and to local Federations,” he said.
And he concluded: “So, it will be a busy few months and years ahead. Every day is important, and I am determined to make a difference. We have been shouting about the consequence of cuts to policing for years and have been labelled scaremongers for doing so. We need to be more passionate, persuasive and proactive, and we must take our message to the public who, in the main, support policing.”