90 days from today is Sat, 24 December 2022
8 May 2021
The impact of a police watchdog investigation on Johnie Streeter and his family made him want to support other officers if they found themselves in a similar situation.
Johnie described the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) probe as “a spectacularly unpleasant experience”.
And so he put himself forward to be a Hertfordshire Police Federation workplace representative in a bid to offer help and support to colleagues facing conduct investigations or other issues at work.
Now he’s encouraging other officers who are considering volunteering for the Federation role to go for it as well.
“I became a Fed rep due to being the subject of an IOPC investigation and the subsequent impact it had on me, my family and my colleagues,” he said.
“It was a spectacularly unpleasant experience which drove and enforced my pre-existing thoughts to put myself forward to become an elected Federation member.
“I wanted to be able to share that experience and ensure that if my colleagues ever found themselves in that position, they wouldn’t feel like I did.
“I’m now in a far better position to offer support and knowledge of how to deal and cope with this process and ramifications.”
Johnie, who became a Fed rep in 2019, added: “If you’re considering putting yourself forward to be a rep go for it. It’s a completely different role and experience to anything else you’ve done. You have a sense of satisfaction that you helped fellow colleagues.”
Johnie, who is currently a safer neighbourhood officer, brings nearly 22 years’ policing experience to the role.
“I have knowledge of some of the processes that impact officers’ welfare and wellbeing,” he said, “I’d like to think I’m able to be compassionate with my colleagues and those seeking assistance.
“I enjoy helping my colleagues of all ranks and lengths of service. It’s rewarding to be able to be a voice for them if they feel intimidated, worried or concerned and to ensure that my colleagues are treated fairly.”
He said the Federation faced a number of challenges including an increased workload for welfare, discipline and wellbeing issues as well as providing rehabilitation for the after effects of any discipline or welfare process including short-term and long-term sickness.
“My priorities for the next six months are to be able to be help and guide my colleagues through their difficult times, offer and provide support where I can,” he said, adding that he wanted to study the post-incident management course so he can pass on his experiences and explain the process in plain language.
Johnie joined the Force in July 1999. His first posting was to Hoddesdon for probationer training and then he went to intervention at Hertford.
During his career, he’s also been based at Bishops Stortford, Stevenage, Letchworth, Royston and Hitchin, and he has worked in intervention, tactical team, crime car, Force intelligence and the safer neighbourhood team as well as being a tutor constable for 17 years.
“I was attracted to policing by the opportunity to help people, to catch criminals and to stop harm from happening to the public,” he said, “And to help our most vulnerable victims feel safe.”
Over the last 12 months, that has meant enforcing the lockdowns and policing the pandemic.
And Johnie says the extra demands of Covid-19 on top of normal policing duties are having an effect on officers’ welfare.
“The challenges ahead include the welfare and wellbeing of officers and staff and ensuring our colleagues aren’t worn down and burnt out when demand increases with Covid-19 restrictions starting to lift and the gradual opening of the economy,” he said.
“This will be an issue especially with licensed premises starting to reopen and the increase in alcohol-related incidents with its knock-on with other departments such as licensing teams, interview teams, domestic abuse units, neighbourhood teams and intervention and response teams bearing the initial brunt of the lockdown easing.”
Johnie added: “The Force is likely to see an increased amount of workload for welfare, discipline and wellbeing issues with the knock-on effect of sickness and rehabilitation impacting the organisation as a whole. Covid-19 has had an impact on the demands and officer welfare.
“The challenge is the prevention of issues in the first place so officers and staff do not have to endure these experiences with its associated effect on family life and work colleagues.”