90 days from today is Wed, 06 March 2024
12 June 2023
MPs from south-west England have said they will do more to push for better conditions for Devon and Cornwall Police officers, after the Federation told them about the challenges its members were facing.
The incoming Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Chair, Richie Poole, met the MPs at a special Parliamentary meeting on Wednesday 7 June. Among those at the meeting were Simon Jupp (MP for East Devon), Scott Mann (MP for North Cornwall), Anthony Mangnall (MP for Totnes), Ben Bradshaw (MP for Exeter) and Steve Double (MP for St Austell and Newquay).
Richie said it was an “extremely positive” session, and that he received assurance from some of the MPs that they would actively engage with officers to find out what it’s like on the ground.
He said: “This round-table meeting allowed us to talk to MPs about all the issues that are affecting policing, particularly in the West Country and across Devon and Cornwall.
“It was extremely positive. Anthony Mangnall and Simon Mann in particular were really engaged and led the session. They were very interested to hear what we had to say, certainly in relation to issues such as retention, and pay and conditions.
“We spent a bit of time talking about the shortfall in other agencies not being able to pick up some of the demand in mental health-related cases, which is falling back to the police service.
“We also talked about the huge workloads officers were dealing with. And about the funding for the uplift in police officers. That’s taken funding away from support services, so the number of support staff across Devon and Cornwall has reduced, which doesn’t remove the need for those tasks to be done.
“So new and serving officers are being taken from the frontline to backfill those support services. That’s something the MPs weren’t really aware of. Obviously the headline from the Government is we’ve got these 20,000 new police officers across the country, but they don’t appreciate that that’s reduced the support for those officers to be able to go out and do their jobs.
“We also talked about issues around the Police Covenant – they’re very keen to help us move the Police Covenant forward, because it appears to have stalled at the moment.
“And we discussed mental health support for officers, and those officers who are going through extended periods of investigation.”
The MPs asked what they could do to help from their position in Parliament, to influence the changes that needed to happen in policing.
Richie said: “They are going to take this information back through their parliamentary working groups. They’ve committed to me, as the incoming Chairman, that there will be a lot more active engagement going forward, so they can understand the actual problems on the ground.
“Anthony Mangnall in particular was really keen to get in with our local officers, so we’re going to help him to do that, so he can understand, from the coal face, what is actually going on and feed that back through various groups.
“Both Anthony and Simon Jupp are already visiting police stations and going along with ride-alongs, spending time with neighbourhood and response officers. One of the things they’ve asked us to concentrate on is how we can help them to influence visibility.”
Richie said that the Federation had been invited back to Parliament for further meetings. He said: “We’ll do more of these meetings, absolutely. We managed to talk about an awful lot of topics in a very short period of time. The only negative, really, was the fact that a couple of the MPs didn’t engage as much. But they were there and they were able to listen to some of our concerns.
“I think this is going to be very useful, going forward. This is a first for me as the incoming Chairman, and it’s about building relationships with our local members of Parliament, who can then influence Government. I think we’re off to a really good start.”