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19 July 2021
The new Police Covenant has been listed as “top priority” by Home Secretary Priti Patel after its implementation moved a step closer to becoming reality.
Ms Patel, who told officers she “had their backs” when she addressed the Police Federation annual conference last month, was speaking after holding talks with Federation national chair John Apter and other key policing figures at the first meeting of the Police Covenant Board.
The board agreed to examine a wide range of proposals to provide officers and staff with long-term support and protection to carry out their duties, with the focus on health and wellbeing, physical safety, and support for families.
Speaking after the meeting, John described the talks as an “important step forward” and said: “The Police Covenant is something I believe passionately about, and I am incredibly proud this is finally turning into reality.
“We have worked long and hard on the creation of a covenant to ensure it benefits all police officers, staff, volunteers, their families, and our retired colleagues.
“The first meeting of the Covenant Board is an important step forward and I look forward to playing my part in ensuring the covenant is meaningful and tangible for all our members and their families.”
Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell said the Home Secretary’s commitment to the Police Covenant sent out an important message to members.
He said: “We are policing under pressure at the moment and officers, who have been working under extraordinarily challenging conditions for the past 16 months, need to know they have the full support of the Home Secretary.
“We welcome her commitment to implementing the Police Covenant and hope it gives our members the special recognition they deserve for the hard work and sacrifices expected of them.
“Officer wellbeing has always been one of our top priorities and we are pleased to see this important issue at the centre of the proposals being discussed by the Police Covenant Board.”
The board discussed plans for occupational health standards to be embedded across all police forces, the establishment of a new chief medical officer for policing in England and Wales and improved training for GPs relating to specific police roles.
Plans to develop pre-deployment mental health support for the entire police workforce and consider what a good support model for families should look like were also discussed at the meeting.
Ms Patel said: “I have been resolute in my determination to ensure that the police have the support they need in order to carry out their duties to protect the public. This is an absolute priority for me.
“The new Police Covenant will recognise the dangers and the harms they face each day as they undertake their duties.”
The Covenant Board will meet every quarter to discuss the Police Covenant, deliver agreed outcomes and monitor progress.
Those attending the meeting alongside PFEW and the Home Office included representatives from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the College of Policing, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, the Police Superintendents’ Association, Unison, the Chief Police Officers’ Staff Association and the Welsh Government.
A consultation process on the new covenant was launched last year aimed at serving and former police officers, their families and any groups with an interest in supporting the police in England and Wales.
Plans for the covenant are set out in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is set to be discussed in the Lords in the autumn having already progressed through the House of Commons.