28 days from today is Mon, 14 October 2019

Hampshire Police Federation

Message from your Chair - August 2019

13 August 2019

In the last few months I have written to all Hampshire MPs about our capacity to respond to the demand and visited many of them encouraging them to come out on patrol to see the realities of operational policing in the “austerity” years.   Clearly someone as been listening as recently Boris Johnson has announced plans to recruit 20,000 new officers

A big change for us all,   I have been in the media recently commenting upon this, and I do see it as a is really positive development, but, like everything, the devil is in the detail.

It is much more complex than 20,000 people just turning up for work in a few months’ time; the public needs to know the challenges both in terms of logistics, (lockers, police stations etc.) and force capacity to train people - both trainers and tutors.

It’s a challenge but a positive challenge. We are already well engaged with the force around the practicalities and being honest about how quickly these new officers will land on teams, and exactly which teams are they going to land on. There is a meeting at the end of August so that all parties can sit down and update with all the “issues” that may come up so everyone can identify a way to get the extra officers delivered.

The summer is always a challenging time for resources and August is proving no different, I speak with John McDonagh about resources almost daily.  

Clearly, at present, we don’t have enough people and too much work to do and until this picture changes, I have made it clear that my expectation is that we keep the disruption to officers to a minimum, and enforced rest day working should be the ‘nuclear’ option. We have worked together to come up with a plan making sure that the resource cover is shared across the whole force using those who don’t routinely answer 999 calls as well as response, neighbourhoods etc.

This is basically overtime, using non-999 resources to cover, 12 hour working then enforced rest day working, there is also an option to seek mutual aid, if needed.

There are always going to be issues like covering nights where the options are really limited without greatly impacting on officers who don’t routinely work nights, but we are working with RMT to keep impact to a minimum.

This has been done twice and the feedback has been positive. Whenever the force looks to move to this, the Federation is consulted and we have been able to encourage things like line managers being empowered to make commons sense decisions where officers have child care or other reasons why they can’t just stay on duty without referring the decision back to gold.

Pensions latest

I have received a lot of calls about pension, and specifically the recent Government rulings and subsequent communications by Leigh Day Solicitors and the pensions challenge. Clearly this has caused concern amongst our members and demands for clarity or advice.

Firstly I / we can’t give pension advice as I / we are not qualified to do so. Personally, I am not in the challenge but I have several friends who are and I don’t get any form of tapering, I want the pension I signed up for and I also am keen to understand what the pension ruling means for me.

There is quite a lot of advice here on the Hampshire Federation website, there is a key bit that is in the joint statement put out by the Federation National Council (see below)

https://www.polfed.org/hants/advice-guidance/pensions/pensions-faqs-july-2019/

Once PFEW has the details of how the Government intends to rectify the unlawful discrimination caused by the transitional arrangements it will take action so that that all those discriminated against as a result of the transitional arrangements are in receipt of an appropriate remedy, including taking any legal advice and actions necessary to achieve this.

We, as your federation, are involved in this and in communication with the National Federation and are as keen as anyone else involved to find out what it means.

Whilst there is a lot of comment on social media, we don’t want to make comment which would be speculation until we know what the Govt intend to do in terms of a remedy.

Sergeants Promotion Process

Recently the updates around who was successful at the Sgts promotion process were not delivered well, this was an individual error and we worked hard to get an update and apology for those involved. I have sought feedback for all the recent promotion processes (Supt, Ch Insp and Sgts) which we are sharing with HR to make sure that the process - and specifically the outcomes and updates - are better in the future.

Garry Smith, your General Secretary, and I are meeting with Gemma Gair, head of HR, the promotions team and the HR team to resolve issues for next year so please feedback to the office your concerns and ideas so that we can provide a true picture of your concerns and how it can be a better process for you.

If you are concerned about being identified, then this can be done confidentially if you wish. The whole promotion process is stressful enough and we want to work to make it as stress free as possible.

Protecting the front line

Operation Oat refers to an officer who was stabbed in Portsmouth. As your federation we have worked with the force to address shortfalls in risk assessments, understanding what some teams are tasked to do, and that there is appropriate training and equipment.

Its key that when you are asked to carry out work activities that may expose you to the threat of violence and assault that you are appropriately equipped and trained and that managers complete risk assessments and put in place measures that will limit the risk of injuries to our colleagues.

New Fed Reps announced

We are very happy to welcome four new Fed Reps to the team this month following the most recent elections. We had a 25% turn out - which is fantastic – and now welcome Ant “Wags” Waghorn, Geoff Hill, Marcus Mills and Nick Milburn. These four comprise of two constables and two detective sergeants, which is great news, providing more reps in the Investigations world and one from the north of the county.

Psychological Screening begins

Finally, shortly there will be some information coming out from the force as a result of the bid that went to the PCC around wellbeing, Psychological Screening is due to role out across the force shortly. Some may naturally have concerns about this, but we see it as a positive step forward in looking after officer welfare.

Hampshire Police is the first force to role this out to all staff, following on from the findings of the Cambridge University Survey: The Job and The Life, where it was found that 1 in 5 officers and staff were likely to have clinical levels of PTSD or complex PTSD.

It is key that the force helps identify people who are suffering and then provides them with the appropriate care they need.

Its key that if policing causes you to be unwell, then the police help you back to wellness. We are working with Paul Robertson and his team at Occupational Health, Police Care UK, and with the Force, but officers need to take the first step. I would encourage you to engage with the screening team, if you identify you are experiencing symptoms, then we are here to help and support you.

Enjoy the rest of the summer.

Alex

Alex Charge
Hampshire Police Federation chair

Diary

September 2019
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