“I saw the real value the Federation brings”
Steve Hartshorn, National Board member and Firearms lead, joined the Metropolitan Police in 1995, before moving to the Met’s Firearms Command. He became a Federation rep because he wanted to help colleagues that were going through a difficult time.
“My uncle was a police officer in Cheshire which started my interest and when I was 18 I left home to work in a pub near London. One side of the pub was covered by the Met Police and the other side was covered by Surrey Police. When we called for help sometimes we had both forces arrive to assist. It was like an invisible line going through the pub and I got to hear lots of stories. From talking to those officers It sounded like a cracking job, with lots of camaraderie while you helped people in a huge variety of roles.
“I joined the Met and spent 18 weeks training at Hendon, which I loved. I was still a very new officer when there was a complaint that I had allegedly assaulted a member of the public. I went to my Federation rep, who literally told me to just read the paperwork involved and to turn up to my misconduct interview– that was it. I was despondent and not overly impressed with the help I’d not been given.
“During my ten years working in Barking and Dagenham five of my colleagues were sacked as the result of arresting a violent male – for essentially doing their job! This time there was a lot of Federation work going on and I then saw the real value the Federation brings – my colleagues were later reinstated, full back pay and vindicated.
"I became a firearms officer in 2004 and in 2007 became a Fed rep in the Met’s Firearms Command, CO19.
“There are lots of things that I’ve been proud of during my time as a Fed rep, and it’s been great to help colleagues and members through some tough times. I think one of proudest moment happened recently, with an officer who had been up on a GBH charge. He had been found not guilty at Crown Court and was now on a directed hearing from the Independent Office for Police Conduct. It had taken four years from the date of the alleged assault to get there and with a very poor investigation, we were amazed it had got this far!
"We submitted a no case to answer application after only one witness - the remaining evidence would only be supportive of my colleague. We were successful and the case was thrown out. That officer faced the prospect of prison and losing his job, even though there never was any evidence against him.
“It was an emotional rollercoaster and you’re there through it with the officer and their family. You’re there to support them through the process, you have their back and are there to answer queries about anything to do with the case. The questions may not seem like much to you, but to them it’s massive.
“I think as a Federation our biggest benefit is a unified voice; we are 43 separate forces with separate issues but we can all bang the drum locally and then nationally. I think that’s a great thing.”