23 December 2021
Christmas and New Year Message from Paul Williams, Chair of Cumbria Police Federation.
On the run up to the festive period and New Year it’s only by looking back on what policing has faced in 2021 and what we are facing into 2022 that we can appreciate the challenges that have rained down on us.
2021 is a year that none of us will forget as police officers and also personally.
COVID has ripped through our communities and brought with it policing challenges we have never before witnessed. You have had to walk into very uncertain times with real danger and serious risk to health in a pandemic while getting your heads around huge amounts of complex fast time legislation, working against all odds to police with the right tone and balance.
2021 began with us all adjusting to new ways of working, managing lockdown personally and professionally as well as taking real time pay cuts. Police officers have worked harder than ever and faced more threat, increase in assaults to be informed that we are always bottom of the pile in the Government’s priorities.
I will keep voicing this and actively supporting the pay campaign to try and eventually get what we deserve for sacrificing so much.
Personally for me this has been one of the toughest years of my life, having suffered much personal loss and grief through the pandemic I can say first hand how real and dangerous it has been for us all and how devastating COVID can be. I Know I’m not alone in this but what has moved me is how well you adapted to the policing of this and the professionalism shown by all in Cumbria Constabulary has been impressive and should stand out equally as much as the negativities we’ve all had to face.
All that said and yet we still face the threat of a new variant that will take challenges well into 2022. Already we have had to ramp up safety measures in the run up to the festive season.
The Federation nationally has faced many challenges around many subject areas. It goes without saying pensions remains a sore subject with various legal challenges and the mess around immediate detriment has left a lot of members very uncertain, and that is not a problem our members signed up to. We’re hopefully going to get some queries answered in the New Year as we’re going to bring in some pension workshops to assist where we can.
Pay has been a tremendous challenge having been kicked by the Government consistently over many years the very unwelcome news of yet another pay freeze was an ultimate betrayal. The national campaign is well underway and the lack of Government engagement with the Federation to me speaks volumes.
It’s most definitely time to challenge having been given nothing other than empty words.
We are also continuing to work at holding the IOPC to account regarding timeliness of investigations. There is still much work to be done around investigation times and standards. There seems to be a lack of responsibility taken by the IOPC and reform is much needed.
Elections have recently been completed of our branch board and we have a number of new Reps now in place who are willing to hit the ground running and help support the members. We welcome them all and look forward to working with you. Myself and Secretary Jamie McTear got through this time unchallenged and I must thank our branch board for having the confidence in our work in representing the members.
A terrible act by a police officer this year has led to a natural fallout and it’s ever more important we work to regain trust. We are of course being scrutinised over vetting and how we address misogyny in policing. I’m supporting this as there should never be any room in policing or society for such behaviour.
I suppose with this I have a clear message that’s very important. All officers must be very careful around social media and messaging. The consequences of any misuse of this can amount to criminal and/or severe sanctions. I am pleased to say that in the main the vast majority of our workforce remains incredibly professional.
As we move into 2022 we will enter new challenges as well as dealing with our current issues but I’m confident we will overcome those challenges and do what we do best in keeping the streets safe. We are in a good position with uplift which means focused delivery will help bring crime down. Work is ongoing around structure of our policing model and we are being kept sighted and consulted. It’s looking positive in all and we look forward to seeing it delivered soon.
As we come to the end of 2021 I want to thank you all personally and professionally. You are what makes Cumbria Constabulary tick and it’s testament to the dedication and commitment.
I want to wish you all the very best for the festive period and New Year and most importantly keep safe and look after each other.
Cumbria Police Federation