26 May 2023
In Part 2, chair Tony Wetton looks back on an incredibly challenging 2022 for Derbyshire Police Federation and its members but finds some good news to talk about too...
It is clear and obvious that our members want to give communities in Derbyshire a modern, proactive police service - one they can trust and rely on. But for that to happen, we called for a significant reduction in workload taken in from other services, so the Force can concentrate on the issues which are most important to members of the public - solving crime, reducing offending and making the communities they live in a safer place.
We welcomed the 2022 annual Police Federation Conference in May, the first physical gathering of its kind in four years after the previous two events had been cancelled due to the cyber-attack and the pandemic.
We took a full complement of delegates from Derbyshire along with a number of members who attended as day observers. With the theme ‘Fighting for Fairness’, the vast majority of the two-day event was spent, quite rightly, addressing issues surrounding pay. The 2023 Conference has been moved to October and we await further information about that important event in the Federation calendar.
With a report carried out by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) warning of potentially hundreds, if not possibly thousands, of corrupt officers that could be serving in England and Wales as a result of poor vetting procedures, it is hardly surprising that the media insists on shining a light on the more negative stories.
We were all deeply concerned to hear that the same report found a culture of misogyny, sexism and predatory behaviour within policing towards female officers, staff and members of the public. The results of Baroness Casey’s review of the culture and standards in the Metropolitan Police were equally hard to read.
Whilst this review was about the Met, and many of the negative stories in the media involve Metropolitan officers and staff, we are all alive to the fact that some of the behaviours described may well be happening in our own Force. Much work is now being done around culture and standards in Derbyshire, as it is in other Forces throughout the country, and the Federation are playing an important part in that.
As a consequence of those reviews and the subsequent erosion of public trust and confidence in policing nationally, we are seeing a College of Policing review of vetting and a clamour to make it easier to dismiss police officers, including a Home Office review into just that. The Federation are clear that Forces already have sufficient opportunity to identify and deal with the tiny number of officers whose behaviour lets us all down, and the conduct regulations provide a suitable due process which provide protections and reassurance for both sides.
Sadly, the reputation of officers continues to be in danger of being tarnished by the constant negative narrative and stories in the media.
I think it is really important to draw attention to the more positive stories that come from policing, especially those on our doorstep. Just as an example let’s cast our minds back to last year’s Police Bravery Awards, which saw our brand new health and safety lead Steve Reid honoured during the ceremony, alongside Ronnie Korbiel and Steve Fowkes for their bravery in facing down and dealing with a very violent offender.
That brings me onto passing on my sincere thanks to Steve and to all of our elected workplace reps throughout the Force, to Jo and Pete in the Federation office and to Kirsty Bunn, Derbyshire’s secretary. They are all dedicated to working tirelessly on behalf of our members, and I’m extremely grateful for their ongoing support.
As for you, our members, thank you. You continue to show fierce bravery and unwavering commitment to policing, even during the most challenging of times. The unique job you do is vital in protecting the public, and you should be very proud – every single day.
READ MORE: Part One of Tony's 2022 Review