18 December 2019
Hearing conflicting opinions about the Police Federation, Mark Wright decided to do what he usually does – jump in feet first, put himself forward to be a workplace representative and get selected for the role.
Mark had been a member of the Federation for around 17 years at that point, having signed up when he started his policing career in 2001.
“I had a number of friends and work colleagues from a previous life who were serving police officers. I was able to speak with them and made an informed decision that becoming a Police Federation member was a very wise move,” he explains, adding that a workplace representative vacancy prompted him to become more involved.
“I heard a number of opinions in the parade room about what the Federation was about, what they were doing (or not) and I found that I really didn’t know a great deal of what a work place rep did. I also wanted the opportunity to support and help other officers in times of need. As usual for me (feet first), I wanted to go and find out, so saw that there was a vacancy and applied.”
It is a decision he has not regretted and, in addition to his workplace representative position, Mark is also the Derbyshire Police Federation health and safety lead.
Mark says: “There are many great opportunities that come with the role: excellent training that develops my skills as an officer as well as giving me the tools to support members and the chance to speak with colleagues nationally and develop that network. One of my motivations is the opportunity to travel, learn from peers and other organisations and bring that back to improve how I do my job and contribute to the wider team.
“Fundamentally, it is being there for colleagues when needed, giving advice and support but also giving back to the organisation that has looked after me for nearly 19 years.”
While keen to seek out best practice and initiatives that have worked elsewhere in the country, he wants Derbyshire Police Federation to remain true to its members.
“We have to ensure we keep the focus on Derbyshire members,” says Mark, “This is a great force and we are proud of our continued achievements. One size does not fit all, however, and while we can listen and learn from the national Federation and other branches, we must ensure that it’s the right thing to do for Derbyshire.”
On a more personal level, managing the dual role of being a police officer and an active Federation representative and health and safety lead, brings its challenges in terms of managing any abstractions from his day job and ensuring the Federation work does not cause any detriment to his Force role.
Mark adds: “Looking ahead, I want to look closely at the Derbyshire workplace reps and ensure they are fit and well to continue to support members through some harrowing times. 2020 will be a year of wellbeing and I would like to keep our workplace reps in a strong mental place, ‘doing good by keeping well’.”
As a workplace rep, he has already undertaken the Federation’s initial reps’ course and has also completed courses in health and safety, post-incident procedures (PIP), conduct and performance, and equality. He now wants to further develop his knowledge in the health and safety arena and gain a National Examination Board in Occupational Health and Safety (NEBOSH) qualification.
He also wants managers to be better informed around equality matters so they can support their teams and put wellbeing for all officers to the fore.
Having joined Derbyshire Constabulary in January 2001, he has served in Staveley and Killamarsh in uniform and also worked in crime teams on various plain clothes initiatives before promotion in 2007. He has been a reactive sergeant at three different police stations over two divisions and is also a qualified Ops Planner. He has worked in a Safer Neighbourhoods Team, licensing and with the County Council’s children’s services department running a multi-agency team.
Mark is currently with the business change and innovation department at headquarters.
He is keen to see the Force playing its part in managing change in the future, explaining: “Change is happening whether this is in the way in which we recruit, the advances in technology or the shift in policing priorities. The Force must play its part in managing this, understanding that some change can be, and is, worrying for individuals and can be an additional cause of stress and anxiety. We can’t stand still if we want to continue to give the best possible service we can to the public, but we can bring everyone along on the journey with informed communications and business leading change for the right reasons.”
But, he also feels having sufficient resources is key.
“The police service has to be able to address the shortfall in officer numbers. The recent uplift is a great start and will make a real impact. But this needs to be a continual process and not be considered as job done,” Mark concludes.