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Hertfordshire Police Federation

New bill seeks to improve officer welfare

9 March 2021

A new bill which establishes a Police Covenant and provides better welfare and legal safeguards for police officers was today welcomed by Hertfordshire Police Federation chair Geoff Bardell

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will be unveiled in Parliament today and includes the creation of a Police Covenant follows extensive campaigning by the Federation.

Geoff said: “The bill includes a number of measures that we as a Federation have been campaigning for since they will make a real difference to our members.

“The establishment of a Police Covenant will recognise the unique role my colleagues play and will support and protect them in their work. But there’s a way to go yet before this is law, which is why we’re calling on the Government to back up the essence of this bill by giving officers access to the coronavirus vaccine now.

“They’re on the frontline and coming into contact with the potentially deadly virus every day. If we’re serious about supporting and protecting the police then the way to do that is by taking the real and tangible step of vaccinating them,” he added.

The covenant will mean serving and former members of the police service are provided with continued health and wellbeing support, physical protection and support for their families, and will create a duty for the Home Secretary to report annually on the work being undertaken.

Alongside the establishment of the covenant, the bill legislates to double the maximum sentences for those convicted of assaulting emergency workers in England and Wales to two years – something the Federation has been campaigning for.

It will give better protection to police officers involved in driving incidents, with the introduction of a new test to assess officers’ driving standards. The new test will see them judged against a ‘competent and careful peer’ with the same training, rather than with a member of the public.

It also allows Special Constables to formally join the Police Federation. This follows years of Federation campaigning and regular discussions with the Home Office, Association of Special Constabulary Officers (ASCO), the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) over the issue.

The measures were also welcomed by national Federation chair John Apter who said: “This bill contains a number of important changes we have been campaigning for over many years to give greater protection to police officers, and recognise the unpredictable, dangerous and demanding job they do. 

“This is the first step to bring these changes into law; we must grab this opportunity and ensure the bill brings about a positive, meaningful and tangible difference for our colleagues.”

Find out more about the bill.

 

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September 2022
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