What is the value of Police Federation membership? In this series, members who have been assisted by the Federation in their time of need, speak about their experiences.
PC Richard Howlett was called to a disturbance outside a supermarket involving a group of teenagers. One of them, a 15-year-old boy, became violent and was taken to the ground, sustaining a small shoulder fracture.
Due to the boy’s age, PC Howlett took him home rather than arresting him, where he claimed his arm had been broken. About three weeks later, around Christmas 2017, the officer was informed that the IOPC was investigating the incident and in January 2018 he was removed from active duty.
Worried for his future, PC Howlett contacted his local Federation (Bedfordshire) and met with its then Chair, Jim Mallen. “For the first time, I felt I had someone in my corner" said PC Howlett. Knowing the Federation had his back, allowed the officer to put his focus back on to work – including an opportunity to police football games, while receiving monthly updates on his case.
A year after incident, Mr Mallen accompanied PC Howlett to meet with a solicitor in London and start the preliminary processes for the IOPC hearing. The Federation oversaw every aspect of this, from providing the best available legal expertise and representation, to joining PC Howlett’s in the interview and making sure his case was heard fairly – the Federation also made sure he was put up in a hotel on the night before the hearing so that he had space to prepare.
As a result he was completely exonerated – an outcome he attributes to the work of the Federation.
“I really couldn’t have done it without them” he said. “Jim Mallen is an absolutely top bloke – it felt like having a father figure there to help me through an incredibly difficult time. I owe him and his colleague Emma Carter a debt of thanks that I’m still trying to work out how to repay.
“When I joined the force at 18, I often thought about what else I could be spending my Fed subscription fees on – thank God I never took them elsewhere. Going through this without the Federation by my side would have been totally impossible.”