28 January 2020
Wellbeing seems to have become something of a buzzword in policing circles. Many forces have wellbeing plans but we need to ensure, and I am sure someone said this exact thing at the Federation’s centenary event in London in November, that we are walking the walk and not just talking the talk.
Derbyshire Police Federation is making wellbeing its main focus for 2020. It should be at the heart of everything we do and we are going to ensure that is the case.
We have already made good progress. Last year, we recruited and trained 28 Federation Support Officers (FSOs) who can signpost members to advice on Police Regulations and other matters. They give us extra eyes and ears across the Force, keeping us informed when any issues arise but crucially are simply on hand to offer help to their colleagues, backing up the work of our elected workplace representatives and full-time officials.
In addition, we ensured that all our reps had access to relevant Federation courses, including conduct, health and safety and equality, to give them the training they need to be able to offer a first-class service to members.
Now we need to build on the foundations we have built.
In the coming months, we are reviewing the Force’s nine-point plan on mental health which was originally launched almost two years ago. We want to see if we are meeting the standards set and, if necessary, revise and re-launch the plan. Similarly, we want to ensure that we are all working to the provisions of the seven-point plan on assaults so we will be reviewing progress with that. We still need ALL assaults, as well as injuries and near misses, to be recorded on Gateway so that we can provide support where it is needed and we can evidence and deal with the issues officers are facing.
We have also been in discussions with the Police and Crime Commissioner over the findings of the Front-line Review of policing which identified the need for improved welfare support. We have suggested that he considers the appointment of a Force welfare officer and we await his views on that.
But, while there is a tendency to focus on mental and physical welfare, we are also aware that more and more officers are struggling financially. Last year’s pay and morale survey revealed that 40 per cent of Derbyshire officers are worrying about their finances either daily or almost every day, with almost three quarters saying the felt they were worse off financially than they were five years ago and eight per cent reporting never or almost never having enough money to cover essentials. Of course, the bigger issue here is that we need to see the Government invest in policing and ensure officers are paid fairly for the unique, demanding and, at times, dangerous role they carry out and we will continue to put forward a case for a pay rise that will put right years of below inflation increases. But, in the meantime, we will also be working with a number of our member service providers to ensure members have access to financial advice and support should they need it.
We will keep you informed of developments as we continue our work to ensure that members’ wellbeing is kept to the fore at all times. Any organisation’s first duty is to its own people and nowhere is that more important than in policing.