6 November 2022
By Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation
The political turmoil the country has been subjected to in recent months is unprecedented in my lifetime but I’ll leave it to others to comment on the hows, whys and wherefores and if and when some sort of stability will return.
The Police Federation remains neutral throughout this upheaval but that certainly does not stop us pressing for the changes we think are essential to improve the pay and conditions of our members and to help them deliver a service that members of the public have every right to expect.
We understand the new Prime Minister and Cabinet have huge amounts of work to cover as another new administration tries to find its feet but we would urge whoever is in charge to make sure the challenges facing the police service are not overlooked or placed in the non-urgent tray.
Because the fact is, the crisis facing policing is a matter of great urgency and it needs to be tackled head on as soon as possible.
Pay, conditions and morale are still massive issues and will have to be resolved sooner rather than later.
This year’s pay deal, although initially welcomed by some, has turned out to be totally inadequate in the face of soaring food and energy bills and many of our members will soon have the added financial burden of increased mortgage repayments as the country remains in the grip of a profound economic crisis which few believe will not mean more austerity.
How can it be right that police officers are using foodbanks to feed their families or having to borrow off family and friends to make ends meet each month?
The Police Federation is seeking talks with the Home Office to try to thrash out a new pay mechanism which ensures our members are fairly rewarded for the difficult jobs they do and also to protect policing from the sort of cutbacks which have led to the chronic under-funding of the last decade.
It should surprise nobody that public confidence in the police has fallen in recent years because the thin blue line has been stretched beyond its limits while the demands on the service we provide has increased dramatically as we try to cover the shortfalls in other agencies such as the health and social services.
We expect the 2022 pay and morale survey to reveal just how frustrated members are after a summer of more disruption and yet another decrease in our real-terms pay.
I’d like to thank everyone who took the time and effort to complete the survey because the findings will be used to press for positive change: better pay and conditions and for reform of the pay system.
It should provide us with the current, empirical evidence we need to fight on their behalf by putting together cohesive arguments that can gain traction with influential people in Government, media commentators and members of the public.
I know that times are tough and that uncertainty can have a really negative impact on our mental health and wellbeing so I will again send out a reminder that the Police Federation is here for you whenever you need us. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or issues.
I will close as usual by urging you all to stay safe, take it easy on your rest days and keep looking out for each other.