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.
Firearms officer Matt Edwards was assisted by the Federation through a two-year Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation which followed a fatal shooting.
Matt and his colleague attended a violent domestic incident in 2016 where a man had taken his fiancée hostage. Officers forced their way into the property where they were met by the offender, brandishing two knives – threatening to stab them, his fiancée and himself.
Officers told him to put the knives down, but the situation escalated. He lunged towards Matt – luckily not making contact. Taser was deployed to restrain the man, but the attempt failed.
The split-second, difficult decision was then taken to shoot him. Officers gave him first aid, but he died later in hospital. Matt was hospitalised after bullet went through his finger. He was alone there for five hours with no Post Incident Manager to talk about what had happened.
This is when Bedfordshire Police Federation stepped in. Federation Rep, Emma Carter, gave him the long-term support needed throughout the investigation process. Top legal aid was provided to Matt as the IOPC began its probe into the series of events and an inquest was approaching.
It took two years for the process to conclude that Matt and his colleague had not breached the standards of professional behaviour. At the inquest, a jury ruled the man was legally killed.
Matt retired in 2018 after 20 years’ service. He now gives talks on behalf of the Police Firearms Officers Association.
He said: “Emma was like a friend. She has been passionate, full of empathy and professional. The stress of being investigated was bad, even though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. My wife was very worried about me and there was a complete lack of support from the force. There was absolutely nothing, no senior officer checking in to see if I was OK. Nothing.
“Emma still keeps in contact with me now. She will drop me a text or call me so we can meet up for a chat. You’ll never be able to get that level of service and support elsewhere. If you are struggling at work the Federation is the place to go to.”