Cumbria Police Federation

Cumbria Police Federation reacts to Home Secretary Conference Speech

12 October 2023

The Home Secretary had “nothing of note or substance” to say about the degradation of police pay and conditions in her PFEW Conference speech, Cumbria Police Federation has said.

Suella Braverman delivered her Conference keynote speech yesterday, in which she spoke about her admiration for police officers, but Cumbria Police Federation Chair Ed Russell said that delegates were frustrated by her answers to key questions.

Ed said: “When questioned about investment in neighbourhood policing and concerns over attrition rates of officers, the Home Secretary was keen to point out the record number of officers currently employed in England and Wales, stating that 20,000 further officers had been employed.

“But later she stated that the number of officers had increased by barely 3,000 since 2010, against a backdrop of a population rise in excess of 6.5% over that period.”

On pay, Ms Braverman said she believed the pay deal reflected ”the commitment and hard work [of officers] and the economic climate within which we are working”. But the PFEW National Chair Steve Hartshorn pointed out that this year’s uplift of 7% was still 10% behind where it should be to keep in line with inflation.

Ed was also disappointed by the lack of an announcement about a ‘Medal for Heroes’, awarded posthumously to officers killed in the line of duty. He said: “When pressed about the introduction of a medal to honour fallen officers, she gave broad agreement, but could not provide a timeframe for this important piece of work. This was received with disappointment and frustration by delegates, and the National Chair Steve Hartshorn urged the Government to do the right thing as a matter of respect for our colleagues.”

Ms Braverman was also challenged on the controversial decision to put Chief Constables in charge of misconduct hearings, instead of independent Legally Qualified Chairs. But she pushed back, saying: “We hold Chiefs accountable for the culture and standards in their forces. Therefore, it’s important that Chiefs have a leading role in determining who should be dismissed.“

But Ed said he was pleased to hear Ms Braverman talk about the importance of Right Care, Right Person, which should see police officers responding to fewer mental health calls. He said: “This will shortly be launched in Cumbria and will divert some non-police calls away from our already over-encumbered front line. Cumbria Police Federation support this endeavour and remain involved in the consultation processes to ensure that this important piece of work is done right first time.”