Derbyshire Police Federation

‘Chief constables must take better responsibility for health and safety’

29 January 2023

Steve Reid, health and safety lead

Steve Reid, health and safety lead

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) has warned chief constables that they must ensure their forces comply with health and safety laws.

National health and safety lead Mark Andrews has said members were still being exposed to significant risks every day and called on senior officers to use all available information to assess risk and put in place control measures to reduce the danger attached to each role. 

He said: “As the health and safety lead for the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW), I continue to be shocked by the information sent to me by Fed reps around the country, detailing the health and safety failings by forces and the risks this presents to our members.

“This ranges from not recognising obvious risks leading to a direct threat to life, to the lack of the provision of basic facilities to maintain the dignity of officers seeking toilet breaks or to change sanitary products. This is not good enough.”

Mark stated the Federation is working to remind forces of their legal obligations to treat their employees with dignity, consideration and understanding. 

He added: “In short, PFEW will hold police forces to account and make sure police employers do better.”

In response to Mark’s comments, Steve Reid, health and safety lead at Derbyshire Police Federation, said: “Health and safety here at Derbyshire has got a lot better over the past year, but there is always room for improvement.

“Health and safety needs to be taken seriously. It plays a massive role in the Force, and in fact, throughout everything we do.

“Ultimately, we need the correct structure, training and equipment in place, to ensure officers can continue to do their job safely and effectively. And we need proper backing from the Force too.”

Echoing Mark’s words, Steve said the Force has a responsibility and a duty to ensure all equipment, vehicles, training and uniforms are up to standard.

He continued: “I work closely with the Force’s Health and Safety Forum, which is held regularly. We proactively pick up on any occurring issues and tackle them as necessary. 

“As the branch’s health and safety lead, I want to assure all members that I am pushing and driving to improve health and safety continuously at Derbyshire.”

The Federation is calling on forces to ensure:

  • Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are undertaken with reasonably practicable control measures put in place where appropriate
  • Recognition as to when Generic Risk Assessments need to be updated or changed
  • Appropriate training
  • Uniform, equipment and PPE to keep officers secure and comfortable
  • Working locations where they have facilities to rest, concentrate and take care of basic human needs, and
  • Consideration of their needs when deployed on operational situations.

Mark said the Police Federation’s six-point health and safety wish list was not unreasonable and actually enshrined in law.

He ended: “I have engaged with our employers and other stakeholders across the country, reiterating their legal obligations to our members and the ball is now firmly in their court to improve the areas which need it and share their best practice with other colleagues. 

“I look forward to seeing improvements across the board to ensure our officers are being treated fairly and are not exposed to unnecessary, avoidable risks.”



June 2024