90 days from today is Wed, 30 December 2020

Avon & Somerset Police Federation

Of what value are our values?

1 July 2019

I started writing a version of this in March 2019. Then we had the Cyber-Attack and all the associated issues and concerns. Thankfully the collective work completed by many reduced the threat and potential harm to the organisation and most importantly our members. To date we are still content in the knowledge that we have not lost any data. That is important. 

The first 6 months of 2019 has been a busy period for all. In the Federation we have said farewell to Alan Bell, our Secretary and fellow Federation Rep from over the past 15 years. Pete Land has been elected into the Secretary’s role and we have welcomed Tony Henley into the Deputy Secretary position. I wish them well in their positions. We continue to bring in new Work Place Reps and their openness, desire and eagerness to learn, so to provide their best to our members is of credit to them.

So what of our Force Values?. They are simple and if implemented will bring a great ability to shape our culture and truly take us to that learning organisation. So as, Federation Chair how have we embraced these values and how are we working to make the work environment better.

I feel we are making changes and positive steps in some areas, but managerial pressures are bringing staff concerns in other areas. During the last few months we have had challenges around shift changes and in particular with flexible working patterns. The cost of having our work force reduced, whilst there being a significant increase in demand, pushes our capabilities and brings staff stresses to the forefront. We have worked with managers across the force concerning some flexible working agreements and striving to get that balance. We have a general agreement with our managers that the cancellation of rest days should generally not happen. We advise re the compliance with Police Regulations – please take time to look at the “Did You Know” section of the web site and such changes should be the exception rather than the norm. We will have a period in the summer where we can foresee some real pressures and considered changes. As a Police Service that is something that we don’t enjoy but does come with the job. As a Federation we will work with the Force in trying to reduce this impact as much as possible. That is so important for your well-being.

We continue to work in collaboration with the Force around a number of different matters. We are advancing these joint understandings with PSD and the IOPC. This has brought real successes, with a significant increase of joint working and a real willingness to embrace learning and not blame. There is still work to be done outside these bodies and we will continue to do this, allowing our leaders to take the initiative and deal with performance or conduct from the start! Leadership, empowerment and ownership is important. This needs shaping and we are working with the Constabulary to try and impress this need on staff. We want leaders to prevent our officers falling down, from injury, performance or conduct concerns.

During a visit to Bath Police Station the issue around with the use of the new marked Vans was raised. The supervisors and staff were uncomfortable with the use of the vehicles and what they were expected to do with them. They had the courage to raise this and accepted that this may bring some organisational strains. The APP was very clear in what was expected. The Federation took this forward and through negotiations led the organisation to re-consider their stance and move forward with the required training.

Post Incident Procedures (PIP) is such an important part in policing. We accept that this is well known and acted upon within the Firearms and the Custody working arenas. But, the other risk areas – with pursuits, general driving and response, is still an area where this work is vastly unknown. During this late Spring we trained our work place Fed Reps with this work and are pushing the Force to enhance awareness across all areas. The Federation are placing posters and leaflets at the Bases, so that this procedure is at the forefront of your mind post incident. We are pushing for all supervisors at the ranks of Sergeant and Inspector to be trained and gather a far greater understanding of when we should be using the PIP process. It is so important for these incidents to be identified and the support offered to the Officers and Police Staff members early on. We will continue to drive this aspect forward.

Memorial Garden

Memorial Garden

Lastly, we are celebrating our 100 Years. This Federation invested money into the re-development of the Force Memorial Garden. This is an important place for our members, our wider police family and the relatives of those that have fallen. With a good range of partners we delivered this garden in time for the Long Service and Good Conduct Awards. This meant that the garden has been enjoyed by many already.

The strength of you as Police Officers, dealing with what you do every day is never undervalued by the Federation. The Values of the Force are there for us to aspire to and we will work with you and senior leaders to make the work place a better, enjoyable and a more inclusive environment.