Derbyshire Police Federation

Helen pledges to support others in wellbeing role

1 March 2022

Derbyshire Police Federation’s new wellbeing lead Helen Gallear said a burning desire for fairness was behind her decision to become a Federation workplace representative.

Helen became a Fed rep in 2019 when she was based at Ilkeston and said she was determined to work hard for members.

She said: “I am a big believer that everything should be fair and I found sometimes it is not. So whether that’s work-life balance or reasonable adjustments, I just like things to be fair across the board.”

Helen said the biggest challenges facing the Police Federation in the future would inevitably centre around pay and pensions.

She said: “It is definitely very high on lots of people’s agendas. We have to make sure our members get fair pay and a fair pension and at the moment I don’t think we are.

“What I can do as Fed rep to make that any better I don’t know, but if I can do something I will because that is better than sitting back and doing nothing.”

Helen said she felt lucky to have been voted onto the Derbyshire Police Federation executive – the Branch Board - and offered to take on the role of wellbeing lead towards the end of last year.

She said: “Wellbeing is something I am very passionate about. I have suffered with mental health issues myself over the years and have undertaken various counselling and things that the Force offers but I still think we have a long way to go to make sure people are well.

“Improving working conditions and wellbeing are my priorities, making sure people are being looked after at work and making sure people are being looked after with their mental health as well their physical health.”

Helen joined Derbyshire Police in April 2012 after a varied career in which she had also worked as a flight attendant, a massage therapist and estate agent.

“I had always wanted to join the police but when I left school they weren’t taking on any cadets that year so I went to college and became a massage therapist and went travelling,” she said.

“I went to work on cruise ships and  came back when I was 30 and that’s when I applied to join.”

Her current role is with Derbyshire’s MOSOVO (management of sexual or violent offenders) unit and she has been there for a year.

Helen started her policing career at Cotton Lane on response then served as a beat bobby based at the same station before working as a sexual offences liaison officer (SOLO) and some “really amazing” family liaison officer roles.

She warned low officer numbers would continue to be a major issue for the police service.

Helen said: “What is alarming is the amount of overtime being offered all the time which shows we clearly don’t have enough cops on the ground.

“So if so much over-time is being offered every day and officers are taking it, we are going to get burn-out and in my opinion that doesn’t actually achieve anything in the long-term.

“Recruitment and retention just doesn’t seem to be balanced in any way. We hear about new recruits joining the Force but at the same time others are leaving or retiring and the numbers just don’t add up.”

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